Fresh Ricotta with Caramelized Pineapple/Banana Topping

I wouldn’t even say it’s a recipe (it’s too simple to be called that); it’s more of a suggestion, one of a hundred possible ways to enjoy fresh cheese. And the cheese has to be fresh. So, either make your own (what I usually do) or buy it from a reputable source. Here, I processed the freshly made ricotta in a food processor to make it smooth and silky, added some lime zest and juice, a bit of sugar, drop of vanilla, pinch of salt. I topped the ricotta with thinly sliced pineapple and banana, brushed with a little bit of melted butter, sprinkled with raw sugar, and caramelized the last with a torch. Simple, indeed, but yet, it makes quite a delicious dessert.

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Apple-Cranberry Crumble with Orange-Carrot Frozen Yogurt

Apple-Cranberry Crumble with Orange-Carrot Frozen Yogurt

Don’t be surprised it wasn’t served with ice cream. See, I need to shed a couple of pounds here – I am trying to squeeze into this party dress by the end of the month. So, the dish is basically my diet food – less fat, more vitamins. If you are favoring traditional views you can top the crumble with a scoop of vanilla or orange ice cream. But the yogurt actually turned out pretty tasty, and it was good with the crumble, as well as on its own.

Does anybody else think that food blogging has an inevitable weight-gaining side-effect?

Frozen Yogurt

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Chocolate Marzipan Stuffed Figs in Chocolate Phyllo Purses

Chocolate Marzipan Stuffed Figs in Chocolate Phyllo Purses with Caramel-Chocolate-Spice Sauce

As soon as fresh figs appear at the farm markets I start buying them greedily. It seems I can’t get enough. With their season so short I rush to cook and bake what I’ve visualized in my head before. As much as I love figs fresh and unadorned I’m eager to experiment as well. Below is one of my experiments and at the same time my entry to Meeta’s “Fruit & Chocolate” event.

I stuffed the fresh Mission figs with the chocolate marzipan balls, then wrapped into the staggered thin sheets of phyllo brushed in between with a mixture of melted butter, cocoa, star anise and cinnamon, and sprinkled with ground almonds and sugar for adding some crunch and sweetness. The baked purses were served with caramel-chocolate sauce infused with star anise and cinnamon. The sauce is versatile and wonderful. You can warm and pour it over ice cream, fruits, berries or a slice of pound cake. It makes a great topping for the same figs, but unbaked, for less complicated dessert. Cut the figs in half vertically and serve them in pretty bowls. Sprinkle some nuts (perhaps, pistachios or cashews, or any other of your choice) over the sauce and serve. Nothing is simpler but both the flavor and presentation are amazing.

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Grilled Peaches with Basil Ice Cream and Pine Nut Crocante

Grilled Peaches with Basil Ice Cream and Pine Nut Crocante

I loved everything about this ice cream – the flavor, texture, and the color. I so wanted it to be green (without addition of any food colorings which I avoid whenever possible) that for a moment I thought if I was too hard on the basil. Turned out I had worried for nothing – the basil flavor was delicate enough and not overwhelming. The ice cream was lovely served on top of the grilled peaches brushed with Muscovado sugar and melted butter mixture before grilling and drizzled with good quality balsamic right after. The pine nut brittle was just the right accompaniment. The only thing I regret I didn’t make a double batch of the ice cream, it disappeared so fast…

Basil Ice Cream

I’m submitting this recipe to Ammalu’s Kitchen as an entry for Herb Mania – Basil.

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Ring of Saturn Peach “Doughnuts” with Vanilla Ice Cream

Ring of Saturn Peach “Doughnuts” with Vanilla Ice Cream

The recipe caught my eye while I was browsing through the “Desserts by the Yard”. The peaches called “Saturn rings” were so cute and the way of cooking them and serving was very promising. But honestly I thought I’d never be able to find them here; even Sherry described them as unique and not-so-easy-available. She had to persuade a farmer to sell the peaches to her (she wanted all three available cases at once). And only after revealing her recipe to the farmer (must be good, right?), she got what she wanted.

I was so pleasantly surprised when I spotted exactly the same peaches in my local farm market. They were offered under less impressive name – “Fancy Doughnut Peaches”, but there were no doubts – these were The Peaches from the book. The peaches themselves were so good – sweet and juicy, so, I was asking myself why I was doing all this (described a moment later) to them when we could eat them as is… But, macerated in lemon verbena syrup, coated with anise and pistachio biscotti crumbs, then baked and served warm from the oven with vanilla ice cream (the peaches shape was perfect for holding the ice cream well), they made a terrific dessert everyone enjoyed. I bet a pistachio ice cream would be wonderful here, too.

I used half of the biscotti made earlier for coating 6 about 3-inch wide peaches. Sherry in her recipe used the same amount for coating 12. But my intuition told me it’s not gonna be enough (yes, I developed a useful habit – listening to my inner voice :). The half batch of biscotti was just the right amount (smart me :). I also added more pistachios to the crushed biscotti, well… because there’s no such thing as too much of pistachios, and it gave the crumbs brighter (greener) look.

Another thing I wanted to mention. If the same peaches are not available in your area, you can substitute them to regular ones. Just peel them, cut in half vertically, remove their stones, bake them cut side up, and later on fill a stone holes with ice cream. It should work. If you can’t get the lemon verbena, you can add grated lemon zest to the marinating syrup instead. Either way, the recipe is worth a try. It’s delicious.

Peaches

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