The easiest Christmas thing to make right now: macerated dried fruits in liquor
I am suddenly behind on everything - work, holiday tasks, shopping, etc. etc. I was planning to do a lot of Christmas food related thing - you know, make a stollen or six, maybe a Christmas pudding (should have been made a month ago), cookies, etc. I may still have time for the cookies, the rest I'm not sure.
There is one thing that I have done that took me maybe 10 minutes max, and part of that time was spend let's say, sampling the wares.
To give it a fancy name, it would be Macerated Mixed Dried Fruits. What it is is a bunch of dried raisins, currants, apricots, and so on put in a non-reactive container (like a big glass jar), covered with liquor, and left in a dark place to do its thing. The fruit becomes softened and infused by the liquor, and the liquor takes on the flavors of the fruit.
It's best if it's been left for at least a week, but you can start using it the day after.
You can get fancy with the dried fruit selection, the liquors, or both. Just make sure the dried fruit you are using does not have added sugar. I stuck to the basics with the fruits (dark and golden raisins, currants) but splurged on the liquors: a mix of Williams pear schnapps, kirsch (cherry schnapps), and orange-scented Cointreau. You could use brandy, rum, Scotch, Bourbon, vodka...just as long as it's something with a pretty high alcohol content.
What can you do with this? A lot.
- Put it into small, pretty jars to give away as presents.
- Stir a spoonful or two into vanilla ice cream.
- Pour a spoonful or two mixed with syrup over pancakes for a boozy fruity breakfast.
- Mix the drained fruit into a basic poundcake batter.
- Mix the drained fruit into a muffin batter.
- Add some of the liquor to Glühwein (mulled wine).
- Flame the liquor over a storebought Christmas pudding (or indeed, flame it over anything. To flame, warm up the liquor first in a small pan, then set a match to it and pour over the object of your choice.)
- Pour the liquor over rocks for a sweet, fruity nerve calming agent just before the dinner guests arrive.
- ...and whatever else strikes your fancy.