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A Great Summer Dessert: Fruit in Wine

Here’s an easy summer dessert perfect for wine lovers.  The best part?  No hot oven required!

Although you might not normally think of drinking a wine with dessert (unless of course, we’re talking about dessert wines), fruit and wine make a natural pairing.  They play off each other perfectly: the fruit really brings out the sweet, fruity flavors in the wine, and the wine helps bring out the tartness, acidity, and more subtle tastes (like spice flavors) of the fruit.

This recipe involves marinating fruit in a simple syrup made with sugar and wine instead of water.  Since it needs time in the fridge to chill and let the flavors meld and work together, this is a great make-ahead dish.  If you’re outside grilling or hosting a summer party, this is perfect, because you can just pull it out of the fridge when you’re ready for it.  And it’s adaptable; easy to change to suit whatever fruits you have an abundance of.  Try it tonight!

Here’s what to do:

1.  Make a simple syrup.  You might want to vary the sweetness depending on the fruit you’re working with.  A good starting point is 1 and 1/2 cups wine to 1/2 cup sugar.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved.  Let it boil for 2 minutes, then let cool.

Note: You can use red or white wine here.  White wine is better for a mixed fruit dessert, because it doesn’t overwhelm.  But try red wine with fruits with stronger flavors, like strawberries, plums, or pears.  Even peaches are delicious in red wine!  Experiment and play to your tastes.

2.  Cut your fruit into bite-sizes pieces.  You can use anything you like here, and you use a variety of fruits for different flavors, colors and textures, or just one for a simple but elegant dessert.  Some kinds of fruit that work particularly well are: watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, peaches, grapes, and oranges.

3.  Toss the fruit in the simple syrup.  Use enough to coat generously but not so much that there’s a pool of liquid in the bottom of the bowl.

4.  Cover the bowl tightly (or  put in a lidded container) to prevent oxidation.  Let the mixture chill for a few hours so that the flavors can meld.

5.  Remove the dessert from the fridge.  For a great touch, toss with fruit-friendly herbs (mint is great, basil or lemon verbena would be divine too), and serve.  Enjoy outside on the porch or patio.  Be thankful for summer, fruit, and wine.

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