Diets be dammed! Have you ever had lavender cream? If/when you do you will totally agree with me. This is the stuff dreams, fat thighs and stretch pants are made of, or filled with. Whatever!!! It’s totally worth it. To ease a guilty conscious, I poached some bright orange apriums and nestled them into that cream. Yep, I actually thought I needed to bust out the yin and yang on this easy summer dessert so that I could sleep better at night. Although, with lavender being a natural relaxant, maybe just a tablespoon of lavender cream before bed would have been enough.
I realize it’s a little too early in the season to already be throwing in the towel on trying to eat lo cal for ‘swimsuit season…’ but screw it! Life is just too short to miss out on this combination of flavors. Plus, don’t you just love being a rebel sometimes? I know you can do it…you just need the right provoking.
An easy summer dessert is always something nice to know you can whip up at a moments notice. Ok…any and all easy recipes are a God send most days of the week. Plus, the fact that the typical ‘easy summer dessert’ is a fresh fruit recipe consisting of a big bowl of cut up fresh fruit (ho hum) makes this recipe such a nice change. But this is a fresh fruit recipe too, and it uses the age old technique of poaching to change the fruits flavor a little bit and then you add in that luscious cream.
I used apriums in this recipe, because they are at their peak right now. You could use almost any kind of fresh fruit in this. The lavender cream would taste great with peaches, plums, apricots, blueberries, sweet cherries…I think you get the idea. Poaching the fruit gives it just a softer texture and softens the flavor of the fruit a little bit. I know poaching fruit is kind of a ‘grandma’ thing, but sometimes you just need a little variety. Plus, softening up the fresh fruit makes it much easier to eat without splashing the lavender cream all over the place. You’ll look much more sophisticated if you can keep your food in its little container as opposed to slopping it all over the table or even worse, shooting across the table and hitting your dining companion (major party foul).
This fresh fruit recipe is perfect for serving in individual dishes or to serve it up in a larger dish where people can help themselves. So not only is it an easy summer dessert, it’s versatile too.
Oh, and a word about flower flavored foods. It’s a slippery slope when working with food ingredients that are traditionally found in the flower garden (lavender, violets, roses, orange flowers…). If you’re not careful, your dessert can end up tasting like you’re french kissing a bar of soap (not like your mouth is being washed out with soap, because you’d be lucky if you got your mouth washed out with something so delicious…no that punishment is usually meted out with some truly gnarly tasting bar of soap). So when you’re reading a recipe that includes any of these ingredients, make sure that you actually measure them and DO NOT eyeball them.
Don’t get too close to the models, they might bite.
Recipe: Poached Apricots with Lavender Cream
For Poached Apricots
- 6 Apricots, or your fruit of choice (cut in half and pits removed)
- 2 Cups Ginger Ale
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 2 Strips Lemon Peel
- 1/4 Teaspoon Almond Extract
For Lavender Cream
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Lavender (make sure you use edible lavender)
- 2 Teaspoons Lemon Zest
- 1/2 Cup Half and Half
- 1 Tablespoon Honey
- 8 Ounces Mascarpone Cheese
- Crushed Pistachios (or Almonds)
- Lavender Flowers
For Poached Apricots
- Set the apricots aside.
- Add the ginger ale, sugar, lemon peel and almond extract to a small saucepan.
- Heat pan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and bubbles are forming. (Stirring occasionally.)
- Add in the apricot halves and make sure the liquid is barely boiling, leave them like this for 3 – 4 minutes. (You just want them soft, not falling apart mush. The time you need could vary a little depending on how ripe your fruit is, so keep an eye on them.)
- Turn off the heat and leave the fruit in the poaching liquid. Let them cool in the poaching liquid.
For the Lavender Cream
- Bring the half and half just to a simmer (small bubbles appear at the edges of the pan) and remove from heat.
- Add the lavender, lemon zest and half and half to the warmed half and half. (Stir to combine everything.)
- Let mixture cool to room temperature.
- Strain the cream mixture, to remove the lavender and lemon, into a medium size bowl.
- Add the honey and mascarpone to the cream mixture.
- Thoroughly blend these together either with a whisk or stick blender. The mixture is going to be creamy (thick liquid) and not like a whipped cream.
- Put the lavender cream in the refrigerator and chill thoroughly (at least 4 hours).
- Dish out some of the cream into each dish.
- Top with 2 halves of apricot.
- Garnish with crushed nuts and lavender flowers.
You may have some lavender cream left over. It depends on how generous you want to be with the cream when you’re dishing it out. You’ll get roughly 1 1/2 cups of lavender cream from this recipe.
You can save the poaching liquid and use it to poach more fruit (which, if you are making a large bowl of this you’ll need more fruit than the 6 in this recipe) or reduce it down further and use it as a syrup.
Feel free to use whatever fresh fruit you prefer for this recipe. Or maybe no fruit at all.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Diet tags: Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 6
Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)