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Hot Non-Alcoholic Fruit Punch

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

As soon as I came to Zürich two weeks ago the weather turned foul and hasn't even once cleared up (until today, yay!). It was also cold, and being optimistic about spring I didn't pack anything warm enough.

Under these circumstances one can't go on drinking mulled wine every day (next fall I promise to post our amazing mulled wine recipe and you will understand why it may be tempting). This spiced hot fruit punch is a non-alcoholic alternative that warms the body and soul just as well. The recipe is a hybrid between our fragrant and sophisticated mulled wine recipe and Russian kompot, a dead simple boiled fruit drink I enjoyed growing up.

If it's still cold around your part of the world, this recipe is for you. And if not, you can also serve this cold.

What you need:
4 cups water
2-3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp strawberry jam (optional)
1 apple
8 dried apricots
3 Tea bags of hibiscus tea
1 very fragrant fresh clementine
two pinches of mulling spices (choose any that you like, I just had a pre-packaged mix in my cuppoard)

How to do it:
Chop the bright orange apricots in half and drop them into a pot of water. Add sugar and hibiscus tea bags (careful to leave only he heat resistant parts of the teabags) and turn the heat on. Make sure the water boils only very gently - no wild gurgling bubbles, please.

After a minute or two of boiling, the tea bags will have released all of their crimson color. Fish them out and discard. We would not want them to break and let loose their contents. Add one pinch of mulling spices and cover.

After 20 minutes of gentle boiling, add chopped apple and the second pinch of spices. Stir in strawberry jam and cover.

When the apple chunks are cooked through (5-10 minutes), remove from heat. Add clementine zest and juice to the hot (but not boiling!) punch right before serving.

Enjoy the drink and the fruit and stay warm!

The art of it:
I used dried apricots and an apple, because my grandma had used them in winter when no fresh fruit was available. To me this combination tastes of home and childhood. Maybe for you something else will do the trick: raisins, plums, pears, you name it! Just be sure to take into account how long it takes to cook different fruits.

The type of mulling spice is up to you. It gives this drink a wintery feeling, while the clementine zest throws in a bit of freshness and feistiness. After all, Spring is coming.

This weather will inspire anyone to warm up:

Though some of actually looks quite nice:

And to top it off, I actually have a bed now, and a table, and curtains (but still no internet, alas), unlike the last time I made a post!