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Christmas Chutney

This is so-named because it is made with dried fruits, which I always associate with Christmas: prunes, dates and apricots. It's dark, spicy and delicious with cold cuts, pork pies or hot sausages – and it goes splendidly with matured Cheddar.

 
 
 Christmas Chutney

  Makes a 1 litre jar

Ingredients
 10 oz (275 g) ready-to-eat dried apricots
 12 oz (350 g) pitted ready-to-eat prunes
 10 oz (275 g) pitted dates
 1 lb (450 g) onions, peeled
 1 pint (570 ml) cider vinegar
 2 oz (50 g) sea salt
 1 level dessertspoon grated fresh root ginger or 1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger
 3 oz (75 g) allspice berries
 1 lb (450 g) demerara sugar
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Equipment
You will also need a 1 litre jar and a small piece of muslin or gauze.

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Christmas.

Method

The dried fruits and the onions need to be chopped very small, and this can be done in a food processor, or with an old-fashioned mincer, or else with a sharp knife and lots of patience!

When they're all dealt with, put the vinegar in a large saucepan with the salt and the ginger, then tie the allspice berries up in a small piece of muslin, or gauze, very securely so they can't escape and add these to the pan. Bring everything up to the boil, then stir in the chopped dried fruits and onions together with the sugar.

Leave it all to simmer very gently without a lid for about 1½ hours, or until the chutney has thickened. Stir it from time to time during the cooking period. When it's ready, you will be able to draw a spoon across the surface of the chutney and make a trail that doesn't immediately fill up with surplus vinegar.

In the meantime, the jar should be washed thoroughly in warm soapy water, rinsed, dried and heated in a moderate oven for 5 minutes. Spoon the cooked chutney into the warmed jar, seal well with waxed discs and tight lids, and label as soon as it's cold.

Keep this chutney for 1 month to mature before eating.

 

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