Sunday, 5 October 2008

Rumtopf

A rumtopf turned up at number 13 earlier this week, a birthday present from Lasse (thanks!). What's a rumtopf, you may ask? Well, Wikipedia says the following:
Rumtopf, which literally means rum pot, is a German dessert, traditionally eaten around Christmas. A mixture of various kinds of fruit, rum and sugar is filled into a large stoneware pot (the eponymous rum pot) and matured for several months until the fruit is very soft and completely saturated with rum. Rumtopf may be served with ice cream or waffles.
Yum! We stocked up on fresh fruit yesterday and this evening sees the inauguration.

The basic plan is that you kick off the rumtopf some time in the summer, adding fruit as they come into season and topping up with sugar and lots of rum. By the end of autumn your pot should be full and by Christmas it'll taste fantastic. The recipe I'm following (cobbled together from The Hop Shop and GermanDeli.com and reproduced here for my own sake as much as for anything) is as follows:

To start:
  • Wash and dry the first chosen fruit, removing any stems, seed and pits
  • In a separate bowl cover the fruit with an equal weight of granulated sugar and allow to sit for one hour (example: 500g of fruit and 500g of sugar)
  • Place the fruit, sugar and any juices left in the bowl into the Rumtopf
  • Pour in enough rum or brandy to cover the fruit (use good stuff, 40%+)
  • Weigh the fruit down with a clean saucer or plate (it's important that the fruit doesn't break the surface as the alcohol is preserving it)
  • Cover the opening of the Rumtopf with cellophane (to prevent evaporation) and place the lid on top
  • Store in a cool place away from heat, sunlight and anyone who might drink it
For each additional layer of fruit:
  • Follow the instructions above, but use only half as much sugar (example: 500g of fruit and 250g of sugar)
  • After the fruit and sugar has rested for one hour, gently add this mixture onto the earlier layer
  • Do not stir as this will break up the fruit
  • Add more rum or brandy to cover the new layer
  • Cover with fresh cellophane
Throughout the summer, repeat the process for each new fruit until your Rumtopf is full. Then allow the entire mixture to sit for another 4 to 6 weeks. It is best at 2-3 months, which is
just in time for Christmas.

What fruits are good?
  • Cherries (any variety, pitted)
  • Apricots (halves, pitted)
  • Nectarines (halves, pitted)
  • Peaches (remove pits and cut in halves, quarters, or slices)
  • Pears (cored, peeled & sliced)
  • Plums (remove seed and half or quarter)
  • Grapes (sweet seedless red or green grapes are ideal)
  • Strawberries (don't wash, just remove stem & leaves). Strawberries will lose their red color.
  • Raspberries (don't wash). Raspberries will lose some of their red color.
  • Redcurrants and loganberries (removed from stem)
  • Pineapple, with the rind and centre core removed, is best cubed and is usually the last fruit added.
Use ripe, dry but firm fruit and never any that is overripe.

What's not so good?
  • Apparently it is best to avoid watery fruits such as Melon, as they dilute the alcohol.
  • Rhubarb can make the fruits bitter, as can blackberries, which can also discolour the rest of the fruits and spoil their appearance.
  • Bananas (too mushy)
  • Citrus fruits (too acidic)
My strawberries and raspberries have been sugaring for an hour, so I think it's rum time...

No comments: