Appetizer, Sides

Time Out: Winter Fruit Salad

I have put myself in a quick timeout (NQGBebe is napping!)  to let you in on how to make a delicious winter fruit salad! I have never really been fond of fruit salad. Browned bananas, canned peaches and fruit cocktail come to mind. That was before this recipe came across my radar screen. Bosc pears, tart apple, figs, apricots, raspberries marry up and settle in a warmly, spiced syrup made with a vanilla bean, star anise pods, lemon peel…oh, please! All the delicious flavors in one giant bowl. Join me as I walk you through the easy steps!

 This salad is great for a many reasons, the best of which in my opinion, is that it can be made a day ahead. What wonderful news to my ears as I needed a brunch recipe for 8 adults (and 4 babies)!! My searching led me to try a winter fruit salad recipe by Smitten Kitchen.

IMG_9525Dried fruits get plumped up in a syrup mixture. A vanilla bean, star anise and lemon peels made up a syrup mixture.  I loved where this was headed…
IMG_9540Crisp bosc pears and a tart apple were thinly sliced.

IMG_9550And then the beauty of it all. It sits in the fridge overnight. I brought it out about half hour prior to serving to take the chill off. Deb topped her salad with pomegranate seeds. I did not take the time to deseed a pomegranate…but I added a few handfuls of frozen raspberries for some color.
IMG_9613_2This was a lovely and warmly spiced fruit salad. The crisp pear worked well with the plump figs and apricots. Hints of the vanilla and liquorice syrup complimented it all. This recipe will go into my regular rotation for the long winter months!

Winter Fruit Salad


  • Recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
  • 4 C. water
  • 3/4 C. sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 4 strips of lemon peel
  • 1/2 C. apricots, halved
  • 6 dried figs, quartered
  • 3 bosc pears, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tart apple (I used a local honeycrisp), peeled and thinly sliced
  • Red berries for color - pomegranate seeds, raspberries, etc.


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat add the water, sugar, vanilla bean, anise pods, and lemon peel. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool briefly.
  2. In a medium bowl add the dried apricots, figs and warm syrup mixture. Let this mixture cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl add the peeled, cored and thinly sliced pears and apple. Once the syrup mixture has cooled, pour it over the sliced fruit and mix it up. Cover this with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. When ready to serve, remove the fruit with a slotted spoon, and ladle it into a serving dish. Discard the vanilla bean and lemon peel. Scatter some red berries over the top and serve!
  5. This salad is best eaten with 2 days. Enjoy!

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