Christmastime is synonymous with nuts and fruits, so with that in mind, a Nuts and Dried Fruit Wreath was an obvious choice! No cooking or baking is necessary here! Assemble this beautiful, healthy snack wreath in very little time with a quick trip to your favourite bulk food supply store!
Several kinds of nuts and dried fruit can always be found in our pantry or snack cupboard. Not only do I love to bake with them, but John.e loves to snack on them quite often. Preparing a Nuts and Dried Fruit Wreath was an easy choice because I knew it would certainly not go to waste in our home!
You can use nuts, dried fruit, or berries you like to snack on. For us, that has to be dried dates, apricots, strawberries, and cranberries. In terms of nuts, I did a mix of salted and unsalted nuts to balance out the flavours. I choose brazil nuts, my favourite, with some cashews, almonds, pecans, and pistachios.
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That’s the key to making the wreath super delicious. You will want to add dried fruits and berries with different textures and levels of natural sweetness. As I just mentioned, try to add some salted nuts and some unsalted nuts as well. In fact, the almonds you see in the photos are hickory smoked, which adds a great pop of flavour. Lastly, I did add some white yogurt-covered peanuts for flavour and colour contrast.
My Nuts and Dried Fruit Wreath is the fifth in my 12 Edible Wreaths of Christmas Series. If you have not done so already, please join me for 12 consecutive days – yes, even Saturday and Sunday! – while I share one new edible wreath with you every day. If you cannot wait until tomorrow, you can always check out a series from Christmases past. Find the links for each series below. So, let’s just get into it!
Looking For More Christmas Confections?
Lord Byron’s Kitchen has more than enough to satisfy your sweet tooth! Click on the links below to see a countdown series of holiday recipes from that category!
EDIBLE WREATHS ARE THE CHARCUTERIE OF CHRISTMAS!
Charcuterie boards are everywhere these days, and it seems that there’s a theme for just about everything. With that in mind, why not create wreath-shaped charcuterie boards for Christmastime!? I started out with a few varieties in mind, but the more I thought about it, the more I loved the idea and before long, I had a list of twenty themes. Narrowing it down to 12 was hard, but I managed to put some of the themes aside until next year!
As previously mentioned, our pantry always has dried fruits and nuts, so with an abundance on hand, and some additional store-bought items, I put together this Nuts and Dried Fruit Wreath quite quickly and easily. Everything you see in the wreath is available at most larger chain stores, which means all you have to do is assemble it. Christmastime is busy enough as it is! Putting out a nice spread for friends and family shouldn’t add to your holiday stress!
Most charcuterie boards will include thinly sliced meats and cheese too. And, you can certainly add those things to your wreath if you’re putting it out before dinner as an appetizer. But, in this case, I’m keeping these wreaths simple and very on theme.
WHAT IS CHARCUTERIE ANYWAY?
Charcuterie is a French term meaning “flesh” and “cooked.” It is a branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products, such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, and pate, etc. Originally intended as a way to preserve meat before the advent of refrigeration, they are prepared today for the flavours derived from the preservation processes.
Today, when we hear the term charcuterie, most of us immediately know that we are referring to the preparation and artful assembling of arranging items like cured meats, hard and soft cheeses, dried and fresh fruits, vegetables, and crackers or bread on a large wooden board.
Charcuterie has been popular in many parts of Europe for many, many years. In fact, there’s documented evidence of charcuterie being present in ancient Roman times. The popularity of these boards did not catch on here in North America until recently. Now, they’re everywhere! And, I’m going to show you how to make wreath-shaped charcuterie boards specifically for Christmas!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR THIS RECIPE:
The following is a list of the items needed to prepare a Nuts and Dried Fruits Wreath. Please keep in mind that the amount of each ingredient needed will greatly depend on how many people you are serving. For exact amounts and measurements, refer to the printable recipe card located near the bottom of this post.
DRIED FRUITS AND BERRIES
- Dried Apricots – are a type of traditional dried fruit. Small apricots are normally dried whole. Dried apricots normally do not have any sugar added.
- Dates – They are sweet with a chewy consistency. When purchasing dates, try to find Medjool dates. I’ve read that these dates are sometimes called the Cadillac of dates because of their semi-soft, sweet, moist, and meaty texture.
- Dried Strawberries – These strawberries are not like the type I dry in the oven. These snack-type strawberries are prepared with added sugar and colour.
- Dried Pineapple Wedges – Often found in trail mix, these pineapples are treated with cane sugar and citric acid. They are so delicious!
- Dried Figs – I found these dried figs at Bulk Barn. They are all natural Turkish figs.
- Brazil Nuts – These nuts are actually seeds from the Brazil nut tree, one of the largest trees growing upward of 200 feet. Each tree can produce up to 250 pounds of nuts in a year and live to be 500 to 800 years old.
- Pecans – They have a distinctly sweet and buttery flavour. The outside of the nut is slightly bitter and the flesh within is sweet, buttery, and fatty. The nut itself can be easily crumbled too.
- Almonds – The almond tree is native to the Mediterranean region and they are one of the most nutrient-dense foods around.
- Cashews – These have a rich nutty flavour and are more popular than ever before with the invention of cashew milk. They are a softer nut with a wonderful flavour.
- Pistachios – They are seeds from the fruits of a pistachio vera tree. The fruit dries and hardens until it cracks open exposing the seed. Their green colour makes them popular in ice creams, confections, baked goods, sweets, and even butter and oil. They have a very distinct flavour and are quite delicious when salted and roasted.
- White Yogurt Covered Peanuts – These are delicious and add little pops of white to your wreath.
- Bay Leaves – For wreath assembly.
- Cedar Branches – For wreath assembly.
Lord Byron’s Annual Christmas Cookie Series
Did you know that Lord Byron’s Kitchen has been sharing a 24 Cookies of Christmas Series for the past several years? Click on the links below to see all of the recipes from each series on one page!
HOW TO ASSEMBLE A NUTS AND DRIED FRUIT WREATH
CREATE A BASE
The first thing you want to do is to source a board. The number of people you are serving and the number of items you have to place on the board, will help to determine the size you will need. You can use a cutting board, a charcuterie board, a marble slab, or an old silver-plated tray like you see in the photographs.
Next, using fresh bay leaves, create a circular pattern on the platter. Position the leaves so that the pointed end is sticking out from the center of the board. The wreath size will be determined by how many nuts and dried fruits you will be piling onto it, so size the wreath accordingly. It’s always best to make the bay leaves wreath a little bigger so that the green leaves are not completely covered with food. Once you’re happy with positioning those, it’s time to assemble.
Lord Byron’s Notes
If you have a cedar tree near your home, cut a few pieces with a pair of pruning shears. Be sure to wash the branches well in cold water and spin them dry in a salad spinner. Some cedar can be toxic if ingested. Use ONLY as decor, not as a part of the recipe!! I placed the serving platter right onto a bed of cedar branches.
Begin by placing a small bowl into the center of the serving plate. This will help to keep the wreath circular and round as you build it up by adding the ingredients to the platter. So, start by laying down alternating layers of dried fruits, berries, and nuts. Work around the bowl, piling and building as you go. Be sure to alternate the ingredients well so that you are not placing too many of the same ingredients close together. Be sure to fill in the gaps as you go! It looks gorgeous and takes very little time or skill, doesn’t it!?
GET MORE FLAVOUR INTO YOUR NUTS
If you are not familiar with toasted nuts, then please try it just once. You will probably never revert to eating untoasted nuts again! I have tried using non-stick frying pans for toasting, but nothing works as well as a stainless steel pan. You could use a cast iron pan, but since they get very hot and retain heat so well, it’s easier to burn the seeds.
See the frying pan in this picture? That’s the exact one that I use all the time. I’m not suggesting you run out and buy this same cookware set, but I wanted you to see the pan – remember, do not use non-stick if possible. You’ll get better results with plain stainless steel.
So, unlike most cooking where you’re required to preheat first, you don’t want to apply that same rule to toasting nuts. Add the seeds to a cold pan. Place the pan on the burner and turn the heat on – no higher than medium and probably even less if using a gas burner.
Keep the nuts moving about. I use a rubber spatula. Once you start to smell that warm and toasty aromatic smell, pay close attention. The nuts will take on a slightly golden colour. Don’t let them get too dark. Once you’re satisfied, immediately remove them from the hot pan and transfer them to a dinner plate where they can be spread out to cool.
MAKE IT AHEAD OF TIME
You can make this Nuts and Dried Fruit Wreath a day in advance, however, I would not make it two or more days in advance. I know that in most cases, many types of dried fruit will have a little bit of moisture left in them. They may, as a result, affect the crunchiness of the nuts negatively. If you are worried about the moisture in the dried fruit affecting the nuts by softening them slightly, do not assemble the wreath too far in advance.
The good news is that you can make this wreath a few hours before you need it. Cover it well with plastic wrap and set it aside on your countertop. When you’re ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap and let everyone dig in!
Do You Like This Recipe?
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Nuts and Dried Fruit Wreath
- 1 cup dried apricots
- 1 cup dates
- 1/2 cup dried strawberries
- 1/2 cup dried pineapple wedges
- 1 cup dried figs
- 1 cup brazil nuts
- 1/2 cup whole pecans
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup whole cashews
- 1/4 cup pistachios
- 1/4 cup yogurt covered peanuts
- fresh bay leaves
- cedar branches
- The first thing you want to do is to source a board. The number of people you are serving and the number of items you have to place on the board, will help to determine the size you will need. You can use a cutting board, a charcuterie board, a marble slab, or an old silver-plated tray like you see in the photographs.
- Next, using fresh bay leaves, create a circular pattern on the platter. Position the leaves so that the pointed end is sticking out from the center of the board. The wreath size will be determined by how many nuts and dried fruits you will be piling onto it, so size the wreath accordingly. It’s always best to make the bay leaves wreath a little bigger so that the green leaves are not completely covered with food. Once you’re happy with positioning those, it’s time to assemble.
- Begin by placing a small bowl into the center of the serving plate. This will help to keep the wreath circular and round as you build it up by adding the ingredients to the platter.
- So, start by laying down alternating layers of dried fruits, berries, and nuts. Work around the bowl, piling and building as you go. Be sure to alternate the ingredients well so that you are not placing too many of the same ingredients close together. Be sure to fill in the gaps as you go!
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