This Saturday is the holiday of Tu b'Shevat, the new year of trees. We celebrate by eating all sorts of fruits, fresh and dried, and especially try to eat a "new" fruit---that is one we haven't tasted all year. I chose persimmon, they are just ripe and I look forward to digging in to the enticing burnt orange flesh.
A fun project and yummy dessert to make with the kids are fruit kebabs. Naturally gluten free, they are healthy and easy to make. To add an elegant touch you can serve with a chocolate dipping sauce that's a cinch to prepare. I prefer tropical and summer fruits such as pineapple, kiwis, berries, mangoes, etc. But if all you have on hand are apples, oranges and bananas, that's fine too. Like many recipes that are geared towards children, it's more about the process than the end result. What's important too is that children see the variety and attractiveness of fruit; not something that's "icky" and forced on them to eat. Start the process by taking the kids to the farmers market or supermarket and choosing what looks appealing to them. You can discuss where the fruit comes from and how they think it tastes.
If you want to make a more "grown-up" version of this dish, you can add some of your favorite liqueur to the dipping sauce. Almond or fruit flavored liqueurs work especially well. The amounts for the kebabs vary depending on how many people you are serving, so no specific cup measurements are given for the fruit in this recipe.
Any of the following fruit cut in cubes:
Grapes (seedless, whole)
Mandarin oranges (pith removed)
Thread several kinds of fruit onto the skewers creating an attractive, repetitive pattern. Leave about an inch of skewer showing at either end. Arrange on a platter and cover with plastic wrap. Chill until ready to serve. Serve with warm chocolate dipping sauce.
1 - 10 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips*
1 Tablespoon liqueur (optional)
In a medium sized microwave safe bowl, place sauce ingredients. Microwave on high for two minutes. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth and thoroughly combined. If chocolate is not melted completely, return to microwave for 15 second increments, stirring in between until smooth. Allow to cool 10 minutes.
Divide into individual small bowls and serve alongside fruit kebabs.
*Any equivalent amount of sweetened chocolate can be used in any combination you like, from bittersweet to milk chocolate. If using bar chocolate, chop coarsely before placing in bowl.
Note: Leftover sauce may be covered and chilled until firm to create a truffle filling. Roll teaspoonfuls of firm chocolate mixture into grape sized balls, then roll in cocoa, confectioner's sugar or ground nuts. Chill until ready to serve.