Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Brandied Fruit

Afternoon Tea's Brandied Fruit Bars

October 20th is National Brandied Fruit Day!
Who knew??

Brandied Fruit is a simple way to preserve fruit, makes a wonderful dessert all on its own, or is a flavorful addition to your fall desserts and baking.

Brandied Fruit can be enjoyed "as is" in a dessert dish with a dollop of whipped cream, topped over cubes of pound cake, flamed over ice cream, ladled over slices of cheesecake, baked into a Brandied Fruit upside-down cake, tucked into pastry for a Brandied Fruit pie, turned into Brandied Fruit Bars (recipe in our Book of Cookies cookbook, coming soon!), arranged in a fruit tart, folded into a basic muffin or coffeecake recipe, served on top of crepes, transformed into a classic southern Friendship Cake, added to Sangria, muddled into a cocktail glass to flavor your favorite mixed drink, or spooned into mason jars to hand out as gifts.

Traditional Brandied Fruit needs to sit for a good month or two for all of the wonderful flavors to develop, which is why the 20th of this month is the perfect date to put up your fruit to be ready in time for all of your holiday baking, entertaining and gifting!

However, it can be used as soon as 24 hours later as brandy-marinated fruit, and will still be delightfully flavorful.  The longer it sits, the more the fruit cures and ferments, and develops the distinctive taste associated with Brandied Fruit. Once started, you can continue to add more fruit, sugar and brandy (as needed) to keep the fermentation process going, and keep you stocked.

Pretty much any kind of fruit will work, such as peaches, apricots, pears, plums, apples, pineapples, nectarines, cherries, berries and grapes.   The color of your Brandied Fruit will vary depending upon the fruit you use.  Cherries and berries will tend to bleed out a lot of color, turning your Brandied Fruit a beautiful red to purple color; light-colored fruit will result in a golden hue.

As with any recipe, the higher the quality of your ingredients, the higher the quality of your product:

Brandied Fruit
  • 2 cups of your choice mixed ripe fresh or frozen fruit, washed, peeled and sliced, as necessary
  • ½ cup brandy
  • ¼ cup sugar
Brandied Fruit, chopped and drained, and ready for baking!

Mix together and ladle delicately into a container or mason jar.   Let marinate at least 24 hours.   If you prefer the fruit to ferment (rather than just be marinated in the brandy), do not put in the refrigerator.   Instead, keep it stored in a cool, dark place (away from sunlight) for a month or two, rocking gently every week or so to distribute the juices, before using.

The recipe can be multiplied as desired for the quantity you’d like.   You can also continue to add fruit, sugar and more brandy (as needed) to keep it going and replenish your supply.

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