Warm Italian Fruit Desserts
Italians eat a lot of fruit, both fresh and preserved, and Italian meals typically end with seasonal fruit as the dessert. Fresh fruit may be eaten plain, in fruit salads, or as a cooked fruit dessert with simple sauces or ice cream. Whole fruit may be poached in syrup or stuffed and baked in the oven.
Typically the fruit is eaten with a knife and fork or a spoon. The recipes featured here utilize fresh fruit that is generally available in late summer and early fall. Even if you're not a cook, these desserts are super easy to make.
Pears Cooked in Wine with Mascarpone
Pears are baked all over Italy, usually in red wine. White wine is used in this recipe because it seems to pair better with the mascarpone.
The mascarpone is added to the center of each pear while it is still warm and the two ingredients meld together in each bite.
4 pears, peeled
1-1/2 cups white wine
1/3 cup sugar
4 whole cloves
4 tablespoons mascarpone, room temperature
Toasted or candied walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Put the pears, stem end up, in a small baking dish.
Cut a small slice off the bottom of each pear so help it stand upright.
Pour the wine over the pears. Sprinkle the pears with the sugar and cinnamon. Add the cloves to the wine in the dish.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the pears are tender.
Insert a wooden skewer into the pears to test for doneness.
Remove from the oven and cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
Cut each pear in half; scoop out the seeds with a melon baller.
Place 2 halves on each of 4 dessert plates.
Add a spoonful of the mascarpone to each center.
Spoon the syrup from the baking dish over each pear.
Sprinkle a few walnuts over the top and serve while the pears are still warm.
Baked Figs with Vanilla Gelato
16 fresh figs, cut in half
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter
Vanilla gelato or ice cream
Chocolate shavings (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Combine the figs, pistachios, sugar, honey, lemon juice, and water in a small baking dish. Gently stir to combine the ingredients. Dot the top with small bits of the butter. Bake for 20-25minutes, until the figs are soft and the mixture is bubbly. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Serve in individual dessert bowls with gelato and topped with (optional) chocolate shavings.
Italian Plum Crisp
1-1/2 pounds fresh Italian plums, halved and pitted
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Galliano liqueur
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
1/2 cup light brown sugar
8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a bowl, gently toss the plums with the sugar and Galliano.
Butter a baking dish. Place the plums in the dish, cut side up.
In a food processor, combine the flour, almonds, brown sugar, butter, and salt.
Pulse until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the plums.
Bake about 20 minutes, or until the top islightly browned and the dish is bubbly. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Serve with a drizzle of heavy cream or a dollop of mascarpone.
MAPLE GLAZED WALNUTS
Maple glazed walnuts are a nice addition to baked fruit, fruit salads , as well as green salads.
2 cups walnuts
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat a dry skillet over mediujm-high heat. Add the walnuts, syrup, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the syrup is carmelized and the walnuts are toasted, about 3 minutes. Spread the nuts on a piece of parchment paper and allow to cool.
DESSERTS > FRUIT DESSERTS
Amaretti Stuffed Peaches
2 medium peaches, cut in half, pits removed
8 amaretti cookies, crushed
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Butter a small baking dish.
With a melon baller or small spoon, scoop out a little more where the pit was removed from each peach half. Place the peaches in the baking dish, skin side down.
In a small bowl, combine the crushed amaretti, butter, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and cocoa powder. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions; place one portion into each of the 4 peach depressions. Drizzle a little Amaretto over each peach and sprinkle each one with a little sugar.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the peaches are tender but still holding their shape. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Serve each peach half with a scoop of ice cream alongside.
GREAT FOR MAKING MANY TYPES OF FROZEN DESSERTS
The Cuisinart Frozen Dessert Maker makes frozen yogurt, gelato, ice cream, sherbet, sorbet, and frozen drinks in 20 minutes or less. Double-insulated freezer bowl holds up to one and one-half quarts of frozen dessert.
EXTRA KITCHEN WORK AND STORAGE SPACE