Cornmeal Herb Scones
Two Years Ago: Grilled Sweet Potatoes
The minute I saw this recipe I was entranced. Although it was positioned as a dessert sauce, I immediately thought of waffles or oatmeal with the warm, spicy fruit sauce on top. And if you like both mincemeat and pumpkin pie, now you don't have to choose - just top pumpkin pie with mincemeat sauce. What a great idea! Plus, it would make a great hostess or holiday gift as well. Things just keep getting better and better.
A trip to your local natural foods store would be a good idea so you can buy all the dried fruit and nuts in bulk and get exactly the amount you need at a great price. And don't be tempted to use last year's spices because they're too old. Rule of thumb - throw out any ground spices after 6 months and any whole spices after a year. Penzeys is my go-to spice store and I've recommended them so many times I ought to get royalties (not). Don't risk your holiday dinners on out-of-date spices.
The benefit of making your own sauce as opposed to doctoring a jar of mincemeat filling is that you get to control the balance of sugar, citrus and spice, plus you get major bragging rights. And it's so easy - throw everything in the food processor, then let it sit in the fridge for a few days. The result is infinitely superior to anything you could buy. (Did I mention the brandy?) The flavor is very bright and fresh from the lemon and ginger. If you decide you would like it sweeter, just add a little honey while it warms.
You can see it's pretty thick in the jar. When you're ready to serve the sauce you're supposed to thin it with something like apple cider or orange juice or - if you're feeling wicked - dark rum. Ooooh. My suggestion is to wait until the sauce has warmed up in the pan at least little before you decide how much additional liquid to add because it will loosen up somewhat anyway as it warms. If you end up putting too much liquid in, just simmer it for a few minutes longer to reduce.
This would make for a pretty special breakfast during the holidays or for a birthday.
Dried Fruit Sauce (Mincemeat Sauce)
Makes 2 cups
Note: this recipe is flexible; feel free to add orange zest, a mix of walnuts and pecans, apricots or other dried fruits.
1 tart apple, peeled and cored
4 ounces golden raisins
3 ounces dark brown sugar
2 ounces prunes, dried figs or dried dates, coarsely chopped
2 ounces walnut or pecan halves
1 ounces dried cherries
1 ounce cold butter, cut into pieces
½ ounce crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped
¼ cup brandy, like Cognac or Calvados
1 lemon, zested and juiced
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon freshly ground allspice
¼ teaspoon freshly ground clove
To finish the sauce:
Dark rum, apple cider or orange juice
Black pepper to taste (optional)
1 to 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (optional)
Combine all ingredients except those to finish the sauce in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped; do not purée. Transfer to an airtight container and let rest at least 1 day, or up to 4 weeks.
When ready to serve, transfer to a saucepan and add enough rum or other liquid to loosen. Heat until warm and bubbly. If desired, add black pepper to make the mixture spicier. To make a richer sauce, whisk in cold butter 1 tablespoon at a time, to taste.
Serve warm over ice cream, pumpkin pie, baked apples, waffles, pancakes or oatmeal.