Here's a very easy rumtopf recipe for summer and early autumn fruits
One way to store summer fruits is to make a "rumtopf" or rum pot. This is a traditional Christmas dessert dish from Germany, made, as the name suggests, with rum.
Making rumtopf is really simple and can be an on-going project.
The best fruits to use tend to be the soft fruits and berries of summer and early autumn.
For following this rumtopf recipe you will need the following items and ingredients: a jar or pot for storage, rum, soft fruits and sugar.
Find a big jar with a well-fitting lid. You can buy a proper rumtopf jar. They are not especially expensive and they do the job well because they are deep and dark. A glass jar (such as this one from Amazon) can be used but your fruit is likely to lose it's gorgeous colour as time goes by unless you keep it in a dark place.
If you want to use a recycled jar, find something reasonably tall and narrow, like a passata bottle for example. This way you will need less alcohol which is the most expensive ingredient.
You need a bottle - or two of good quality rum. Use dark, Barbados rum, not white rum for the real deal.
You need about half as much sugar as fruit. This stops the fruit going off and sweetens the rum to produce an aromatic and highly agreeable mix. I tend to use quite a lot of sugar to be sure of producing a safe and pleasant brew.
Wash and sort your fruit, discarding any that are bruised or damaged. Weigh the fruit and weigh out about half the amount of sugar. I tend to use white sugar as the rum is quite strongly-flavoured.
Place the fruit in the jar. Add the sugar. If you have time, let the flavours infuse into the sugar for an hour or two.
Now add rum until the fruit and sugar has disappeared beneath the rum. This stops any possible spoilage of the fruit.
Replace the lid and store it in a dark place if you are using a non-opaque jar.
That's it! (Well, pretty much. See below for more details on making rumtopf.)
Add more fruit, sugar and rum as it becomes available throughout the season. Always make sure that the fruit is well covered in rum.
After the newest batch of fruit has had a few days to infuse, give your rumtopf a very gentle stir with a wooden spoon or a wooden fork. This is to break up any sugar sitting on the bottom. Be careful not to break the fruit pieces.
If you dislike stones and pips emerging in your dessert dishes you can take the trouble to cut them out but it seems a shame to spoil the symmetry of the fruit. Small fruits such as cherries, strawberries and small plums can be put in whole. Larger fruit such as pears and apricots can be cut into bite-sized pieces.
There are some fruits which are not really suitable for using in a rumtopf recipe. Citrus fruits are generally too sharp. Apples may be too hard to infuse well - I haven't actually tried them yet. Dark fruit such as blackberries can make the whole mix rather dark. If you leave them out you are likely to end up with a pleasant, ruby red dessert.
Your rumtopf should be ready within about 4 to 6 weeks from the last fruit being added.
If you like the idea of rumtopf and have plenty of fruit, you can experiment with making rumtopf in different ways.
Try making rumtopf with just one fruit, or with two fruits carefully alternated. This way you can get some interesting colours and contrasts.
You need to be careful to make sure the sugar in your rumtopf is well dissolved so that you don't need to stir. One way to do this is to make two separate batches of your rumtopf recipe from different fruits and then layer them when they are ready to use. Put them carefully into the rumpot, avoiding breakage and undue mixing of the fruit.
In Europe, preserving fruit in alcohol is a traditional method of preservation. You can use kirsch or eau de vie as well as gin or vodka for this. The principle is much the same; use plenty of alcohol and plenty of sugar and pay attention to good hygiene and food safety.
Really any way you like! This rumtopf recipe results in a versatile dessert which can be used to complement many other dessert ingredients.
It makes a great dish for Christmas and the New Year, served with ice cream or with steamed pudding. It's also great served with sponge cake.
Once all the fruit has gone you can use the rum as a liqueur, or to add to other recipes and dishes. Sieve out any stray pips first.
Rumtopf makes a great gift. Put it into a fancy jar with a secure lid, add a pretty ribbon and a tag and you are done.
Please share your experiences of making rum pot below on Facebook or post on the tips page if you want to submit a detailed recipe. Thank you!