Monday, March 2, 2009

Dried Fruit with Peppercorns, Cinnamon and Star Anise, Simmered in Red Wine



I've been busy this morning playing with some leftover red wine in the fridge. I poached a lovely assortment of dried plums, mission figs, cranberries, apricots and raisins in red wine that I spiked with spices.

The aroma was fantastic! After the fruit was beautifully plumped, I reduced the cooking liquid to a syrup and added some lemon juice at the very end for acidity. The result: a yummy, yummy compote just right to dollop over ice cream, stir into morning yogurt or top a perfectly southern slice of lemon pound cake.

Dried Fruit with Peppercorns, Cinnamon and Star Anise, Simmered in Red Wine
makes about 4 cups

In a medium saucepan, combine:

2 to 3 ounces each dried plums, figs, cranberries, apricots and raisins (or make your own combination of dried fruit that you love)
1 teaspoon peppercorns (I used a blend of black, green and pink)
2 two-inch pieces of cinnamon
1 star anise
pinch salt
1/8 cup sugar (I used sugar substitute)
2 cups red wine

Cover saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce flame to low and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes or until fruit is visibly plumped. Remove from heat.

Strain out fruit and return cooking liquid to medium heat and simmer, uncovered, until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove from heat and cool.

While syrup is reducing, remove cinnamon and star anise from fruit. I also took this opportunity to hunt around & pick out the peppercorns. I think I found most of them! You could leave them in, but then you'd have to warn your guests to be careful--there's nothing like chomping onto a hard peppercorn! Eek!

Transfer cooled fruit to a bowl and pour syrup over. Add:

1/4 cup lemon juice

Stir to combine and cover; store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, but believe me, it won't last that long!

6 comments:

Sara said...

This looks delicious - I love star anise, but don't come across many recipes that use it.

Amanda said...

Hi, Sara! I had a recipe one time that required one or two star anise. I couldn't find any in bulk bins, and had to buy a gigantic container of star anise--now I look for any opportunity to use it!

I particularly use it when making asian soup broth--there's something wonderful about simmering a couple star anise, lemongrass and ginger in chicken or beef broth that makes it fantastic!

Sam said...

Wow that sounds good, and I've just bought some star anise too!

Amanda said...

Thank you, Sam! Isn't that star anise fragrance wonderful?

Grace said...

you're not kidding, amanda--this would be perfect drenched all over that pound cake. bravo!

Amanda said...

Thanks, Grace! I couldn't stop thinking about your lemon pound cake, and when I made this fruit I knew that it would be just right on top! Now you just need to mail me a pound cake immediately and I can start indulging my pound-cake-and-fruit fantasy. :P

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