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Pork Tenderloin with Stewed Dried Fruits

Still undecided about what to make as your main course this Easter? For us, it’s typically lamb, or sometimes ham, but if you want to try something different, yet festive, easy and delicious, then give this recipe a go. Roast pork and fruit are a delicious pairing and perfect for any holiday or special occasion. It won’t keep you from your guests for long, since it can be prepared ahead of time and takes only a half hour to cook. You can roast the meat while you’re sitting down to pre-dinner drinks with friends and family. Stew the fruit the night before to save time, but even this takes only 15 minutes. I bought an assortment of dried fruits – peaches, apples, pears, prunes and apricots, plus some orange and lemon peel – and covered them with boiling water, a bit of sugar and a cinnamon stick and whole cloves.

The fruit can sit in the fridge overnight, and you can reheat it at the last minute, while the meat is resting. After you slice the meat, arrange the fruit around the sides, and pour both the meat juices left in the roasting pan, and the fruit juices all over the meat.

Buon appetito e Buona Pasqua a tutti.

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Pork Tenderloin with Stewed Dried Fruits
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 1½ pounds each)
  • Dijon mustard
  • salt, pepper (or herbed salt)
  • herbs de Provence
  • about two cups of mixed dried fruits (apricots, prunes, apples, pears, peaches)
  • water, to cover
  • ½ cup sugar
  • a few strips of orange peel
  • a few strips of lemon peel
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a couple of whole cloves
Instructions
  1. Bring the meat at room temperature and dry with paper towels.
  2. Smear a little olive oil on the bottom of a roasting pan.
  3. Place the meat on the pan and smear with a light coating of Dijon mustard.
  4. Season with salt and pepper (or herbed salt) and a light sprinkling of herbs de Provence.
  5. Place the meat in a 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reaches 140-145 degrees. (The temperature will continue to rise for a bit when you take it out of the oven.)
  6. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest for 10 minute, then slice.
  7. FOR THE STEWED DRIED FRUIT:
  8. Place the fruit in a saucepan with water to cover.
  9. Add the sugar, the citrus peels, the cinnamon and the cloves.
  10. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until fruit is softened.
  11. Remove the citrus peels, the cinnamon stick and the cloves.
  12. Remove from the heat, and serve along the sides of a serving platter with the sliced meat.
  13. Pour the juice from the fruits and any juice from the meat (on the carving board) over the sliced meat.
 

 

 

Almond Pound Cake With Dried Fruits

Almond Pound Cake With Dried Fruits

 A gift of dried fruits is always appreciated, adding a “somewhat” healthy option to the plethora of cookies, cakes and candies usually consumed during the holiday season. I’ve been snacking on some of the dried fruits out of hand, and using them in my morning oatmeal, but the diverse array included in the lovely tray from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law got me thinking that they’d look (and taste) wonderful in a pound cake.

Not that I needed more desserts now that the Christmas treats were gone.
Well, maybe precisely because the Christmas treats were gone was reason enough to bake these cakes.
So there they were, fresh out of the oven, waiting to be eaten.
If I can’t fit into my jeans any longer, I’m blaming it on my brother-in-law Joe and sister-in-law Jan.
They made me do it.
Dust the top with powdered sugar. If you’re feeling creative, cut a stencil of pears (or whatever else you can dream up) and hold it in place with toothpicks before you sprinkle with the sugar.
Remove gently so you don’t smear the design.
Slice and admire the jewel-like studs of dried fruits, but most importantly, enjoy a piece of cake.
Almond Pound Cake with dried fruits
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 tsps. vanilla
8 ounces almond paste, room temperature
6 large eggs
2 cups dried fruits, diced or minced (I used dried apricots, prunes, pears and peaches and next time would use even more)
Sift flour, baking soda and salt together. Place butter, sugar, vanilla and almond paste into a mixing bowl and beat until everything is blended, three or four minutes.  Add eggs, beating in one at a time. Slowly add flour mixture and beat until blended. Fold in dried fruits and spoon batter into two buttered and floured 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees about one hour and 10 to 15 minutes.
Baked Brie With Dried Fruits And Nuts

Baked Brie with Dried Fruits and Nuts

Last year, a baked brie similar to the one in the photo above made an appearance at some point during the holidays – purchased at The Scone Pony in Spring Lake, NJ, a shop selling outstanding scones and other treats.
But the store’s limited opening hours didn’t correspond with my availability to stop in this year, so I decided to make my own for Christmas eve. I’ve got a few vegetarians in the family and the octopus salad, baccala mantecato and shrimp platter just doesn’t cut it with them. I couldn’t leave them out while we were sitting around embibing on prosecco and appetizers.
The baked brie was a snap to make and was just as good as Scone Pony’s – no, better, since it was freshly made.
Maybe you’re having guests at some point in the week, or making merry for New Year’s Eve. This would be a perfect accompaniment to those glasses of bubbly you’re likely to pour.
I start by slicing off the rind from a wheel of brie, an optional step, but it makes it a lot easier to dig into the cheese without the rind.
 Then smear the top with a fig spread, fig preserves or other type of jam, jelly or preserves that you like. I know I’d also love this with either quince jelly, apricot or orange preserves too.
 Then take some of the same flavor of preserves or jelly and mix it with your choice of chopped nuts and dried fruits. I used dried figs, cranberries and cherries, with pecans and pistachios.
Pile the dried fruit and nut mixture on top, then when guests arrive, bake in the oven briefly or place in the microwave for a minute or two.
 Add some crackers and serve.
 And watch it disappear.
 Buon Anno and a big thank you to all my readers for following me this year, for leaving comments on the blog, for making my recipes and for emailing me with questions, or just to send greetings. I wish you all the very best in 2016.
 Are you a social media devotee? Ciao Chow Linda is also on Instagram, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Click here to connect with me on Facebook, here for my Pinterest page, here for my Twitter feed and here for my Instagram page to see more of what I’m cooking up each day.

 

Baked Brie with Dried Fruits and Nuts
All amounts are all approximate. Use as much or as little as you like of nuts and dried fruits.
 If you have too much, it keeps well in the refrigerator.
1 wheel of brie cheese
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
1/4 cup chopped dried figs
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
1/4 cup fig preserves, plus more for smearing on top of cheese.
Carefully slice the top rind of the brie cheese, trying not to take much of the cheese. A little bit of rind on top is ok. Spread some fig preserves over the cheese. Chop the nuts and fruits, mix in the preserves and pile on top. Refrigerate until ready to use, then bake in a 350 degree oven for five minutes, or place in the microwave for one minute. You don’t want to melt the cheese, just soften it. Serve with crackers.