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I've always considered apples to be strictly a fall and winter fruit. Who wants a boring old granny smith when there are strawberries, cantaloupes, and nectarines to be had? But then last summer I had my first taste of rhubarb-apple pie. I loved the sweet-tart flavor combination, and how the tender pieces of apple paired with the silky rhubarb. This week, I combined the two in a conserve studded with toasted almonds and dried apricots.
Think of conserve as jam's chunky cousin. It often combines more than one fruit, and is swirled with nuts and dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, or cherries. Conserves are particularly delicious with hearty whole-grain breads that can stand up to its heft. They also make a wonderful addition to a cheese plate—going just as well with hard, sharp cheeses like aged cheddar as they do with soft, ripe cheeses like Camembert.
I love the combination of apples and almonds, but any nuts will do in this recipe. Try pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts. Similarly, you can swap the apricots for the dried fruit of your choice. Try golden raisins, chopped dried mango, or dried pears.
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About the Author: Lucy Baker is a food writer and the author of The Boozy Baker: 75 Recipes for Spirited Sweets. She is currently at work on a second book about homemade food gifts. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and dachshund.
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