One of the bigger problems of a project like this is, what to do with the stuff you make, especially when it doesn't sound particularly good. One of the best answers is social occasions with a buffet. People who like what you have made can eat all they want, people who don't like it can leave it alone. And so I signed up to provide food for the hospitality hour at what used to be just my husband's church, but now seems to be mine as well. Buffets permit the designer to sneak odd dishes in. For that reason, Saturday afternoon found me making fruit candy for Passover.
I have a theory that desserts are the least culturally transferable food. I developed this concept early, at age 15, when I went to San Francisco to visit my uncle Bill and go skiing. I had an extra day while his children were still in school before we left for the mountains. Uncle Bill and his wife blithely packed me off to take the bus downtown and visit Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf. Chinatown was full of Chinese bakeries with delicious-looking cookies in the windows. I promptly bought some and found them not to be delicious at all.
This is not to say that fruit candy is not delicious. It just didn't sound delicious. It's the kind of thing that, if you used to eat it after Passover dinner at Grandma Harriet's, you will yearn for. However, those of us who grew up in the firmly WASP confines of Berkshire county in the 1950s may not instantly see the virtues of it.
This is a concoction that should not be made without a food processor. The instructions say grind the fruit, which would be a hellish task. Buzz it in the food processor. Even with the food processor, the dried fruit forms a sticky mass that adheres to the hands, the counter and everything else.
About the Elite chocolate. The recipe says it is available at Macy's and Gimble's Passover shops. Well, Gimble's is no more, and the Macy's in the DC area don't have Passover shops. However, Elite chocolate is available at Rodman's Drugs on Wisconsin Avenue in DC. It is probably available at other idiosyncratic stores, and stores selling Kosher products.
I have a confession to make. Instead of making the candied orange and grapefruit peel called for in the recipe, I used candied citron, which is an odd looking citrus fruit. I had bought the stuff for a recipe that I didn't get to, so, into the bowl it went. Recipe websites say one may substitute candied orange peel for citron, so I figured it would work the other way around too.
This recipe does not mention wax paper, but you'd better get some if you don't want a layer of sticky dried, chopped fruit permanently adorning your counter. The instructions say, mix the fruit and chocolate and roll it into logs. Prepare to have your hands thickly covered by fruit and chocolate, so you will have to lick it off.
I have to say, the logs also look somewhat suggestive. Once this glutinous mass is rolled into logs, the cook is told to chop off inch long pieces and roll them into balls. Since they are said to improve with time, I expect them to fly off the buffet table on Sunday.
Fruit Candy for Passover
1/2 pound pitted prunes
1/4 pound golden raisins
1/2 pound dried apricots
1/4 pound candied orange peel
1/4 pound candied grapefruit peel
1/4 pound Elite bittersweet chocolate melted
1 tablespoon brandy
1. Grind together (food process together) the prunes, raisins, apricots, orange peel and grapefruit peel. Add the chocolate and brandy and work with the hands to mix.
2. Roll into logs (having first put wax paper down on the counter), cut one-inch slices and roll into balls. Roll in sugar and store in a dry place. This candy lasts indefinitely and improves with age. Makes 2 pounds.