No matter how close you and your significant other are and how long you know each other, you didn’t discuss everything and so, when you finally settle into daily life together there are always some new discoveries.
Like, he looked in the cabinet for Wise potato chips but you bought Herr’s because that’s your favorite.
Little stuff like that.
With Ed and me the first difference we noticed were the assumptions about dessert that we had brought to the marriage.
I came from a coffee and cake family, he came from a canned fruit family. My mom baked often so there was always some wonderful pastry or other at the end of a meal (like her famous Fannies (butter cookies) or apple pie). Ed’s mom was a good cook, but not a baker. Their go-to dessert was canned fruit cocktail because it was Ed’s favorite.
Of course my mom served that occasionally too. Every kid I knew asked for extra of those carcinogenic red dye #2 maraschino cherries (of which there were always too few to satisfy all of us).
To this day Ed passes up the cakes, cookies and pies (which I find astonishing) and prefers the fruit cocktail. Although I have to say, in an effort to be a good wife I bought lots of that stuff in the early days and even he got sick of it.
But he does love fresh fruit cocktail and it is amazingly easy to make: cut up fresh fruit.
There, that’s the whole recipe. Fresh fruit usually doesn’t need much, if any, sugar, though it is easy to sprinkle some on. Or, you could go to the trouble of poaching a variety of different kinds and serving it with the syrup, a la the canned kind.
But my favorite fruit cocktail is this version, which starts out with roasted fruit. Roasting brings out the fruit sugars in a tantalizing way with hints of rum and molasses (do I sound like a wine taster talking?).
After a huge, heavy, meat-laden Passover Seder meal (or any big dinner), Roasted Fruit Cocktail is an excellent choice for dessert. I am in Ed’s corner on this one. I’ll save the cake and baked goods for later, when I’m less full.
Roasted Fruit Cocktail
1 ripe fresh pineapple
2 fresh mangos
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
18-20 strawberries, hulls removed
1 cup seedless red grapes
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
sorbet or ice cream, optional
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a jelly roll sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Using a chef’s knife, remove the leaves and hard outer shell of the pineapple. Cut the pineapple lengthwise into 1-inch thick strips. Using the knife, remove and discard the middle, fibrous core (from each slice you will be left with two strips of pineapple cut from both sides of the core). Place the strips on the parchment-lined jelly roll pan.
Peel the mango and cut the flesh into strips. Set aside.
Place the orange juice and honey in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat slightly and cook for 5-6 minutes or until the liquid is slightly thickened. Generously brush all surfaces of the pineapple strips with the orange juice mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Roast for 4-5 minutes. Turn the strips over. Add the mango strips, strawberries and grapes to the pan. Brush with the remaining orange juice mixture. Roast for another 6-7 minutes or until fruit is soft and lightly caramelized. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool. Cut the pineapple and mango strips into bite size pieces. Place all the fruit and accumulated pan juices in a bowl, sprinkle with the mint and toss. Place into serving dishes. Serve plain or with sorbet or ice cream. Makes 8 servings