Let me tell you about my go-to, never fail, Holiday-time friend in the fridge.
You keep a jar of this on hand, and you’ve got all scenarios covered. Sudden, desperate dessert craving? COVERED. Guests for breakfast, need to trick out some french toast, STAT? COVERED. Oops, Great Aunt Mabel bought you a gift and you didn’t get her anything? COVERED. How do I do it? Let me show you…
YUP. That’s it. You take some dried fruit, and cover it with some booze. My combination du jour is the one which Ms Nigella Lawson herself pioneers in Express – mixed dried fruits and Pedro Ximinez sherry. PX sherry is pretty easy to come across where I live, but it might require a little tracking down if you’re not in a city centre. It’s a rich, spanish sherry that smells exactly like Christmas. It’s gorgeous.
Of course, this little method lends itself to any number of variations. The traditional French option of prunes in Armagnac is a totally gorgeous, luxe option. Imagine the taste of caramelly dates in that gorgeous hazelnut liquer, Frangelico. Take some dried apricots and soak them in brandy, or Amaretto. Dried cherries in kirsch, or cherry brandy? The options are endless.
And once you have a jar on hand, it’s like magic fairy dust in the kitchen. As long as there’s ice cream around, an awesome Christmas sundae is ready and waiting to go. The combination of my mixed PX fruits and chocolate ice cream was UH-MAY-ZING.
Bake some of these fruits into your french toast, fold some through a waffle batter, or just pile them between some fluffy buttermilk pancakes. Whatever you do, people, please, you must have some of these on hand! If nothing else, they make a beautiful homemade gift for a food-loving friend. Or a booze-loving friend, come to think of it.
Steeped fruits are truly the gift that keeps on giving. I can’t think of anything nicer than handing these out to friends over the holidays – OK, so it’s not the cheapest option, but if you count the labour costs, you’re definitely saving money on time. If you have time to pour a glass of water you have time to make these!
So what combination would you do? And can you send me some to sample? Thank you so much! Happy Holidays!
There’s no real need for a recipe here – just take a vessel of any size, fill it with dried fruit, and then add booze until the fruit is covered (usually half the volume of the vessel’s worth of liquid). Store in a cool dark place, and keep topping it up so that the fruits are covered. Enjoy any which way. Maybe even make a Christmas Pudding with some?