This dark, spicy, autumnal dish can be made two or three days in advance and kept in the fridge. Serve it cold, tepid or warm, with mascarpone, Greek yoghurt, ice cream/crème fraiche and/or real custard. Or let them eat cake - preferably almond and orange or panettone. You can adjust the fruit and flavourings as you like. I use apricots, figs and prunes in equal quantities, but there’s nothing to stop you slipping in mango or peaches, using a couple of star anise or a piece of fresh ginger instead of the cardamom, and swapping the orange peel for lemon or lime. You need to fish out the flavourings at the end of the cooking, so if you can’t be bothered to play hunt the cardamom, skip them.
Serves 6 (or 8 with cake)
150gm each of dried apricots, prunes and figs
Half a bottle (375ml) red wine
3 thumb-sized strips of pith-free orange peel
1 stick cinnamon
5 cardamom pods
18g honey or sugar, or to taste
Put everything except the honey/sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 25-45 minutes (the lower figure for ready-to-eat dried fruit). The liquid should just about cover the fruit; add water if it gets low during the cooking. Once the juice has cooled to warm, remove the flavourings and sweeten to taste.