Vanilla Poached Dried Fruits, Hazelnut Oatmeal Crisps, and Roaring Forties Blue Cheese


10 ounces water  
1 10-ounce bag mixed dried fruit
1 tea bag
1/3 cup sugar        
1 vanilla bean scraped
1 cinnamon stick        
1 star anise          

7 ounces unsalted butter
12 ounces caster sugar
6 ounces clear Karo syrup
3/4 cup flour
1 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts
1 cup toasted oatmeal

Poach the fruit by bringing the water to a boil in a medium sauce pot, steep the tea bag, then remove; add all remaining ingredients to the pot. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To make the crisps, melt the butter, sugar, and syrup. Add mixture into a bowl of flour with the hazelnuts; mix thoroughly. Refrigerate mixture until cold. Heat oven to 325 degrees and toast oatmeal until golden brown. Roll crisp mixture into a 1-inch ball and place on a well-greased cookie sheet 3 inches apart. Place tray in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and sprinkle crisps with toasted oatmeal. Return to oven for an additional 5 minutes. Let crisps cool and break into pieces. Spoon fruit into bowls along with some poaching liquid, top with a slice of cheese, and garnish with crisps.

Serves 4-6

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