What is important to remember is that essentially this is a drink/pudding that is made from seasonal fruits, rum and sugar over a period of time. It's macerated, not fermented, so tastes good and has a wonderfully syrupy quality to it.
Ingredients for the Rumtopf:
Once a month add:
What Fruits to Use:
Sour and/or sweet cherries (pitted)
Peaches (pitted, no skin)
Apricots (pitted, no skin)
Plums (pitted, no skin)
Pears (pitted, peeled, no core)
General Rule of Thumb:
Weigh fruit and note fruit weight, add to Rumtopf, add 1/2 fruit weight of sugar sprinkled evenly on the fruit. Pour good quality high-proof dark rum over fruit so that rum is about 1/2 inch (1cm) higher than the fruit. To start with because of the small fruits, weighed it down with a small plate if it starts to float. And YES, that's a whole lot of rum!
I like to use my old German Rumtopf ceramic pot but it's important that at each stage of fruit/sugar/rum adding that you tie a linen cloth over the opening of the Rumtopf. A large Kilner Jar (3 litre) can be used, just follow the sterilisation process, you will need to bake in the oven for 10-15mins, then let it cool before you start the process. Whatever container, it is essential to keep your Rumtopf in the fridge or cold cellar or in a dark place until ready to use.
Wash, remove pits and stems from all fruits that you're using. I did pop to the supermarket to pick up some strawberries and nectarines to add my hedgerow blackberries to. As you start to add the fruits, remember that your Rumtopf will taste so much nicer if skins of peaches,apricots, plums etc have been blenched in boiling water for a few seconds and their skins removed.
Now cut large fruit in cubes; leaving smaller fruits whole. In November when you come to add the pears, remember to peel and remove the cores before cutting into cubes.
Keep adding more fruit throughout the summer, always keep in mind the fruit to sugar ratio, as well as that the rum has to at all times remain above fruit by 1/2 inch (1cm). On a monthly basis, before adding the new fruit, gently manoeuver the liquored (booze pickled) fruit and combine in the new fruit. Try not to stir as this can create fermentation which you really don't want.
After adding the last fruits at the end of November (which tend to be Pears), do remember to let the Rumtopf rest for another 4-6 weeks before tucking in. More rum may need to be added but as long the fruit is submerged, the container sealed, all will be good.
NOTE: Always keep the Rumtopf in a cool place.
FRUIT NOTE: Almost any fruit can be use but try to maintain a healthy mixture of stone fruits (plums, peaches, nectarines, cherries), berries (strawberries, gooseberries, cranberries, grapes) and core fruits (pears). Exotic fruits like figs or mango can be used, although I have never tried to include these. Buy (or pick from your garden or local hedgerow) the best fruit for this dish and remember the fuit will be in the Rum for a long time, so it should be firm to touch before being submerged.
After SIX months, voila, a perfect punch or pudding that can be eaten:
- Warm or cold Rumtopf on top of Vanilla ice cream
- As small shot with berries in the bottom
- Poured lavishly over waffles, crumpets or pancakes with a dollop of double cream or clotted cream at brunch-time
- Baked into a boozy fruit cake
- As a Rumtopf Cocktail with some ice, a few pieces of fruit and soda water
- Warmed up and ready for freshly made churros or doughnuts to be dipped into it.