It is recipe swap time of month again and Christianna of Burwell General Store has given us a festive recipe this month: fruit cake. It is the long-standing traditional gift we have been joking about as the unfriendliest item on the holiday table. I never really understood why fruit cake has gotten such a bad rap over the years. In theory, it isn't so bad. A cake made with dried fruit and nuts could be good if it didn't involve those creepy, artificially-colored candied fruit pieces that dot the dry cake.
Thanks to my coworker and friend A, inspiration hit. She had been raving about a fig compote she had in New York about a month ago. We were simply standing on both sides of our cubicles one day last week when she announced she would be featuring the compote at Friday happy hour. A light bulb suddenly appeared above my head. I could evolve her recipe for the recipe swap and bring it to H and J's latke party on Sunday.
So yesterday morning my house was filled with aromas of simmering red wine. The compote is a perfect blend of sweet and spicy, especially when served atop a cracker with cheese, and even better, thinly sliced coppa. So this holiday season, as your are slaving over the Christmas cookie baking, pop these ingredients on the stove, for a quick and easy appetizer for your holiday parties, or just an everyday snack spread.
Spicy Date CompoteMakes about 3/4 cup
Any variety of dried fruit can but used in this recipe. A's orginal recipe used dried figs. Serve alongside crackers and cheese for a nice appetizer.
1 cup red wine
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup freshly chopped dates
Salt to taste
Mix wine, honey, sugar, and red pepper flakes in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until honey and sugar have dissolved, 5 minutes. Add cranberries and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add dates and salt; simmer until mixture is thickened and dates are just starting to dissolve, 5 to 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and cool in the refrigerator until serving time.