The sheer beauty of summer peaches and nectarines, carefully arranged in vibrant pyramids of color, grabbed my attention as I ambled through Carr’s produce department. Temptation overcame caution and I bought a big bag of these nearly-ripe, seasonal beauties. Okay, so they weren’t local, after all I was in Ketchikan, but these were the closest I would come this year to fresh, in-season stone fruit.
We ate a few nectarines at breakfast, layered with granola and Greek yogurt. We enjoyed a few more as snacks, just because they were there. Several more were chopped up in a fruit salad… and still more nectarines sat in the fruit basket, waiting to be eaten before they spoiled. Dessert would be the next course to tackle, even though I’m not a big sweets fan. Baked cobbler or pie didn’t sound appealing, so it seemed the glaze-and-broil approach might be a solution. I wondered if the leftover Sweet ‘n Tangy Chipotle Sauce would work as a fruit glaze? It sounded good.
Then I remembered a quick presentation from a little-used cookbook on board, Entertaining Vegetarians by Celia Brooks Brown. Just stuff fruit halves with a blend of chopped nuts, flavorings and softened butter; broil; serve. Could a dessert be any more simple?! Better yet, I would try both presentations and see which dessert won the onboard taste test.
The results? Both were good, though the pucker factor of the chipotle glaze required a hefty addition of sugar on top before broiling. Our favorite? No question about it, we much preferred the pistachio-filled fruit halves with a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt. Any suggestions on how to enjoy the rest of the fruit supply?
Adapted from Entertaining Vegetarians by Celia Brooks Brown, Whitecap Books 2005
Serves 3 in my galley, but could provide 6 dainty servings
· 3 ripe stone fruits, halved and pitted (nectarines, peaches, plums, mango, apricots, or perhaps even papaya are good choices)
· 1 tablespoon sugar
· Honey-flavored Greek yogurt, vanilla ice cream or whipped cream to accompany (I s’pose KoolWhip would work, but I’m not going there)
· 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
· 1/4 cup nuts, slivered or chopped *
· 2 tablespoons sugar
· 3 tablespoons brandy**
· a pinch of ground spice***
Preheat the boiler, setting the rack so the top of the mounded filling is about 6 inches below the flame or element.
Mix together the filling ingredients until well blended. Divide evenly between the fruit halves, filling each cavity with a small, firmly-packed mound of the nutty mixture.
Sprinkle all with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
Place under the broiler and heat for about 6 minutes, until the sugar is melted and the stuffing shows some color. Be careful not to scorch the nuts.
Serve with Honey Greek yogurt, crème fraiche, ice cream or whipped cream.
*I use pistachios, but I’m sure almonds, hazelnuts or pine nuts would be equally delicious.
**Mix it up a bit and substitute a tablespoon or two of vanilla or almond extract, mint, or a citrus juice and zest for the brandy.
***Experiment with flavors; use cloves, nutmeg or cinnamon or some combination of flavors. Rosemary or lavender? maybe.