Della Robbia Wreath in Nectar

This beautiful and simple dessert inspired by the Renaissance takes advantage of the glorious fresh fruits now available year-round. We won first prize for this recipe years ago in the Great Jell-O/Family Circle Recipe Swap, and we think it will be a winner on your table for special occasions this holiday season and into the new millennium.

Fruits in Snow:
An assortment of the most beautiful fresh fruits you can find: green and red grapes, strawberries, apples, pears, oranges, satumas, tangerines
Lemon juice
Fruit juice
1 24-ounce bottle California claret
1 3-ounce package lemon Jell-O
1/2 fresh lemon, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

To make Fruits in Snow: wash and dry whole fruit; cut unpeeled apples and pears into wedges and dip cut sides in lemon juice to prevent discoloration; peel and separate citrus fruit segments; lay fruit pieces on wax paper and sprinkle liberally with granulated sugar. If the sugar isn't sticking, dampen the fruit piece with a little fruit juice or water. Allow frosted fruits to set for a few moments before arranging fruit in an artistic Della Robbia wreath shape on a large round platter. Wreath should be refrigerated if prepared much in advance of serving.

To make nectar: In a small saucepan, heat one cup of claret wine to slow simmer and add the package of lemon Jell-O, stirring until dissolved. Add remainder of bottle of claret, lemon slices, and nutmeg. Bring the nectar to a slow simmer. Serve the nectar in individual cups with the wreath in the center of the table. Each person dips the fruit in the nectar with a fork. Afterward, any remaining nectar is sipped as a warm after dinner drink.

Variations: For a less formal cold weather dessert, leave the saucepan of nectar on the stove or in a fondue pot and let everyone "poach" the fruit to taste in the simmering nectar. Fruits in Snow is a beautiful way to serve fruit by itself or as a garland around a baked ham, chicken, or pork roast.

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This recipe is copyright ©1999 William and Loretta Marshall.
Questions and comments can be sent here.
Page last updated 12/15/99.