Oh now this is a wonderful winter warmer! PACKED with good-for-you feel-good goodness (yup, that good) and down-right delicious, this stewed fruit dish is a new fave of mine. (‘Stewed’ ain’t the most appetising of words is it? Well just bear with. I like mine cool at breakfast with natural yoghurt and some oats or granola, but it’s just as delicious hot as an after-dinner pud – try topping with custard for a healthier alternative to crumble. As there’s SO much pow-boom-wow going on in this here fruit mix, you won’t even miss the crumble topping, honest. Different-sized pieces, textures and flavours make every mouthful exciting. Well, as exciting as fruit can be. It’s not going to feel like you’ve won the lottery. Or met Harry Styles. Sorry. But when swirled into natural yoghurt it’s particularly good fun as you can’t really see the different fruits, and with every spoonful it’s like, ‘Ooh what am I going to get!?’ And that’s an exciting evening for everyone involved. (Yes, I lead a wild life.)The key-player is the apples, which lend themselves jolly nicely to being cooked down, and then I like to chuck in a mix of both fresh, frozen and dried fruits – whatever you’ve got lurking around or whatever’s in season… I’m think apples, plums and blackberries in autumn will be a winner.
As I’m lazy health-conscious, I don’t even peel my apples – did you know all the best goodness is right under the skin? Well it is. Of course you can people them if you want to, but they’ll turn into more of an apple mush. I’m a cinnamon-fiend, especially at this time of year, so am pretty generous with it. But if you’re a spicy kinda fella and prefer something else, by all means, switch it up. Or omit the cinnamon altogether and add a bit of vanilla extract if you’re so inclined – I think I’ll be doing that when/if summer comes round. The possibilities are endless, my friends. Let me tell you, the smell of all this lot simmering away really is a treat, and will fill your whole house/flat/caravan with wintry joy. There’s no sugar or badness, just a little maple syrup to bring out the sweetness of the fruits. You could also use honey. I don’t even use juice or milk or anything in order to save calories – just water for the fruits (especially the dried ones) to absorb, which in turn creates a deliciously caramelised, fruity, juicy syrup. If you’re trying to stick to your January health-kick but have realised you’d never survive the grey, rainy afternoons without a sugar-fix, then this fruity dish will be right up your street.
AND IT’S SO EASY! Simply lob fruit in pan, add a bit of this and a touch of that, leave to cook, and you’re done! How long it takes is hard to say though – it depends on the amount of fruit you’ve got, the size of your pan, the temperature, and how mushed up you like yours (I like mine pretty mushy.As I said, the fruits you use are up to you, but I’ll tell you below exactly what I used for the photos here. And I’d say these quantities serve four people, but that depends how you’re eating it (no judgement for eating it straight from the pan. Deeeelish!)
2 large apples
10 frozen strawberries
10 dates, stoned and pitted
A handful of raisins
A handful of blueberries
2 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp maple syrup
- Core and chop the apples into chunks (peel if you like). Add to a saucepan along with the rest of the ingredients. Add water to cover the bottom 2-3cm of the pan. Stir well.
- Over a gentle heat, leave your fruity goodness to bubble and simmer for 30-35 (ish) minutes, stirring every ten or so and checking the liquid doesn’t boil dry.
- Transfer to a dish or bowls and either eat warm or leave to cool. Either way, YUM! (If saving for later, cover with clingfilm and pop in the fridge once room temp.)