Amanda Hesser's Winter Fruit Salad

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.


  1. Very pretty Barbara. Winter salads are always a hit around here.

    1. After seeing the Facebook symbol on the right, I just realized that I wasn't following you. Corrected now.

  2. Beautiful salad and I agree about Hesser. She's funny as well as talented. Nothing better than a spiced syrup with fruit and I put pomegranate seeds on everything. Usually have one in a the fridge and pop a few seeds regularly. They are delish on everything.

  3. This is an absolutely georgeous salad Barbara!
    Love it!

  4. What a delightful fruit salad!

  5. Love the salad- winter needs more fruit! I just bought a big bag of Bosc pears at Costco, and I thought of them as soon as I saw this. The pomegranate arils really brighten up the dish! :)

  6. Beautiful salad Barbara. I am in awe of Amanda Hesser. Love Food52.

  7. I'd love this fruit salad - such a unique and beautiful combination!

  8. This sounds so delicious, Barbara! I love apricots and figs and the whole salad. Can't wait to try it soon. We just returned from a week of vacation and need to add some lighter recipes to our meals :)

  9. the arils are definitely a great touch! this sounds wonderful, except for that pesky star anise, which i've never been able to tolerate. beautiful!

  10. This is a beautiful winter salad Barbara!

  11. What a lovely fruit salad Barbara. It looks delicious and refreshing. xo Catherine

  12. What a beautiful fruit salad Barbara...I love the vanilla in it!
    Thanks for the recipe...have a wonderful week :)

  13. Barbara! My dear Barbara, first of all, this salad sounds GOOD just about now. With this never-ending cold weather, all I want is some summer feel, summer fun and fare! And the vanilla? OH YES!

    I want to thank you for coming to my blog. It was a tough decision, but since I am keeping as visible as possible in Blogland by visiting blogs, I feel connected still, to a body of kindreds that have changed my life. But I am pursuing my interests in poetry through lots of reading, something I lost because of my intensive time put into my blog.

    I wish you happiness in all that you do; sometimes these activities we find that give us such pleasure change our lives, then change themselves into something else that is fulfilling. I wish us BOTH health and happiness! Many thanks for your kind words, Anita

  14. This looks so good! It's been a while since I made a fruit salad..



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