Fruit Salad Tested Recipe
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Salad makes the perfect ending to any meal. Low in calories and fat, high in
nutrition and flavor, it makes an easy weekday dessert. There are two ways to make a fruit
salad; one is to just
sweeten the fruit with a little sugar and maybe a splash of lemon juice and/or
liqueur. The second way, done here, is to macerate all the glistening fruit in a
lemon flavored sugar syrup.A sugar syrup, also called a simple syrup, is just a boiled
mixture of sugar and water that is often used to soak cakes and pastries.
But did you know that it can also be used to soften and sweeten fresh and
dried fruits? I like to flavor the syrup with a
vanilla bean and lemon, but other ideas are to flavor the syrup with orange juice, liqueurs, a
cinnamon stick, lavender, chopped fresh mint, or even a few whole
cloves. The lemon flavor in this syrup comes from freshly squeezed lemon
juice and Limoncello, which is an Italian lemon liqueur made from lemon
rinds. It is easily spotted for it is bright yellow in color and comes in
a tall thin bottle. Delicious, also, when served ice cold as an after
Roger Verge in his book Cooking with Fruit tells us that "a
successful (fruit) salad has everything to seduce you: the lush flavors of
cut fresh fruit, the explosive colors of the exposed flesh, and the
contrasting soft and crunchy textures that tickle the palate." From
his lovely description you know that the fruits you use, and their quality,
are very important to how flavorful your salad will taste. Summer does offer the widest selection of fruit (all kinds of berries,
peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums), but even in the dead of winter
there are fruits like apples, oranges, pears, pineapple, seedless grapes,
kiwi, and bananas to choose from. And don't forget about adding dried fruits, as
dried figs, cranberries, cherries, apricots, and raisins add both color
and flavor to fruit salads. It is best to cut large fruits, like apples,
pears, and peaches, into bite
size chunks or wedges. Cantaloupe and honeydew can be cut into pretty round balls with a
tool called a melon ball scoop. If using oranges or grapefruit, remove the
rind and the inner white pith as it can be quite bitter tasting. The fruit
then needs to be separated into sections and all the seeds removed. Do this over a bowl
to catch any juices. The salad can be made several hours in advance of
serving and kept in the refrigerator. You can serve the fruit salad cold or at
room temperature. Softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream make nice
accompaniments as do shortbread cookies.
Fruit Salad: Place the water,
sugar, and vanilla bean in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring
occasionally. Let boil two minutes then remove from heat. Let cool to room
temperature, then remove the vanilla bean (set it aside) and add the Limoncello and fresh lemon juice
to the cooled syrup.
Add about 8 cups
of various types of fresh fruit. Cover and refrigerate if not serving
immediately. If using soft berries (like strawberries and raspberries) and/or bananas, do not add to the sugar syrup until
shortly before serving. Serve the salad cold or at room temperature. Nice
accompaniments are softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Makes 8 - 1 cup
servings. Preparation time 20 minutes.
Note: Do not
throw away the used vanilla bean. Rinse it off, let it completely dry, and then
place the vanilla bean in a canister of granulated white sugar. After a week or
two you will have vanilla scented sugar.
'The Oxford Companion to Food'. Oxford University Press. Oxford: 1999.
Malgieri, Nick and
Joachim, David.. 'Perfect Light Desserts'. Harper Collins Publishers. New York:
Mariani, John F.
'The Dictionary of American Food & Drink'. Ticknor & Fields. New Haven: 1983.
'Roger Verge's Cooking with Fruit'. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York: 1997.
2 cups (480 ml) water
1/3 - 1/2 cup (65 -
100 grams) granulated white sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon Limoncello,
Kirsch, or brandy, or to taste (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh
8 cups of various types
of fresh fruit (dried fruit can also be used)
Fresh Mint, chopped