Dried fruit rum pot

14 January. There never was a more forlorn morning. The clouds are so heavy, the mood is dim, we want to be drinking away the endless evenings with friends…

With or without a pandemic, I don’t understand dry January, there never was a more misappropriate pairing. I could forego alcohol at any time of the year; January is when I definitely want a drink. And today especially.

Better than a stiff drink, one drowned lusciously in soft spicy fruit, with a large spoonful of cream.

Like the glimmer of a candlelit café beckoning through an icy Berlin winter, I discovered this a few weeks ago. I’ve made summer rum pots or Rumtopf (jars of summer berries and fruit layered with sugar and rum and left to marinate until Christmas) in the past but not this year, and I was already missing it. Seeing a friend mention a ‘dried fruit’ rum pot recently on Instagram, I immediately asked for the recipe. This is an adapted version, with some changes to quantities and measurements and probably a few more spices. Many thanks Alison!

Dried fruit rum pot

Recipe adapted from one a friend sent me a few weeks ago. After some cursory research online into ‘dried fruit rum pots’ (there are hardly any) I think the recipe may originally have come from Epicurious.

170g (1 cup) sugar
2 oranges
1 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
8 cloves
3 allspice
20 peppercorns (1/4 tsp)
600g (20 oz.) of a selection of dried fruit: apricots, pears, peaches, prunes, apples, dates, sultanas, …
300ml (1 1/4 cup) dark rum

Put the sugar with 600ml (scant 2 1/2 cups) of water in a saucepan, add the rind and juice of the oranges and lemon, the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Strain the syrup and return to the pan. Add the dried fruit. —> If some of your fruit is very dry (as was the case for my figs and pears) add them first and gently for 5 minutes before adding the rest. Once the softer fruit is added, simmer gently for another 10 to 12 minutes.

Let cool completely in the pan.

Meanwhile, sterilise a jar or two (the total capacity will be about 1.5 litres / 6 cups).

When the fruit is completely cool, pour the fruit with the cooking syrup into the clean jar(s), add the rum, and mix well (but gently in order not to squash the fruit).

Ideally, let the fruit marinate in the rum for a while. While this could be eaten immediately, it will get much better in a week or two, and should keep for a couple of months (if it lasts). I like to eat it with a small scoop of sheep’s yogurt and thick cream.

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