This bright and unusual fruit salad would be fabulous to serve at a brunch along with Nancy's Roquefort Quiche. Or any quiche, for that matter. I used the original New York Times recipe from an article by Amanda Hesser in 2001. She suggested it for Christmas breakfast along with some tangerine juice and a morning bread pudding. Amanda Hesser was one of our Gourmet 50 Women Game Changer chefs and I made her ultra fabulous sheet pan mac and cheese for the series. She is amazingly talented.
At any rate.....I added some pomegranate arils for color as suggested by Deb from Smitten Kitchen when she posted the recipe. Quick to make, but it should sit overnight in the fridge to allow the flavors to meld, so allow some time.
Winter Fruit Salad
By Amanda Hesser for the New York Times, December 19th, 2001
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 star anise
1 plump vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
2 2-inch long pieces lemon zest (peeled with a vegetable peeler), preferably Meyer lemons
3 firm Bosc pears
1 firm tart apple
8 dried Turkish apricots, cut in half
4 dried figs, quartered
Pomegranate arils for color
Fill a medium saucepan with 5 cups water. Add the sugar, star anise, vanilla bean and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, and cook until all the sugar is dissolved. Then shut off the heat. Meanwhile, peel and core pears and apple. Slice thinly lengthwise and place in a large heatproof bowl. Add apricots and figs. Pour hot sugar syrup on top, making sure all the fruit is covered. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; poke a few holes in plastic. Chill overnight in refrigerator.
The next morning, using a slotted spoon ladle fruit into a serving bowl and serve.
Yield: 6 servings.