This recipe may seem to require a lot of garlic, but you'll be surprised at how roasting tames and mellows its assertiveness. Other combinations of dried fruits will work, or use just one fruit if you like. This chutney makes a delicious accompaniment to smoked meats and roasts; it can also be served with cheese on a cracker or as a crostini.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Spread the garlic cloves on the foil-lined baking sheet and liberally brush (or drizzle) them with oil. Tightly cover the tray with another piece of foil and roast until the garlic is just tender, 15 to 25 minutes.
Transfer the garlic cloves to a large, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive saucepan and add the cherries, cranberries, raisins, apricots, sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper flakes, and mustard seed (if using). Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer until the dried fruits are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the crystallized ginger. Cool and serve at room temperature.
The chutney can be refrigerated for up to 4 weeks or preserved in canning jars.