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Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Golden Fruitcake

    Nigella's Golden Fruit Cake recipe calls for dried pears. In my area I can't get them so is there a substitute or can I make my own?

    From the nigella team:

    Unfortunately it seems that the availability of dried pears is a little patchy though if you are in the UK then Waitrose stock them as part of their Love Life range. They are also available in some natural and health food stores and also on-line (try The Ludlow Nut Company, see link below). They can also be found on-line at Amazon Gourmet.

    In the US the pears can usually be found in natural food stores and some gourmet markets and in Australia we understand that they can also be found in supermarkets, with other dried fruits.

    If you can't get hold of the pears for the recipe in Christmas (p178) then you could substitute extra dried apricots instead of the pears. Dried apples are not a great substitute as their texture is different to the texture of dried apricots and pears. It is possible to dry your own pears but this is quite time consuming. There are several methods outlined on the internet. You should look to use a method that uses fairly large pieces of fruit, and not thin slices that make crisps or chips.

    http://ludlownutco.co.uk/dried-fruits/pears.html

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