Savory meets sweet as summer fruit transforms into stellar ice cream toppings


Strawberries, cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, blueberries — the confluence of summer fruit seasons creates one of the most magical culinary moments of the year.

Here we’ve given them a stage worthy of their glory: as magical toppings for ice cream, that other summer star. With complementary flavors — chocolate for cherries, ginger and cardamom with apricots — and techniques borrowed from many disciplines — a shrub, a chutney, a compote — the gems of orchards and berry patches take on savory elements to transform into something even better, if that’s possible. It is.

Each recipe is simple enough to throw together for a last-minute party dessert and can be made with ingredients on hand. Serve over vanilla ice cream, or experiment with other flavor pairings. Break them out all summer long, while the harvest lasts.

———

APRICOT CHUTNEY

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

Makes: 2 cups

If using fresh ginger instead of crystallized, add some sugar to taste.

1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil

Half a small onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons finely chopped crystalized ginger (or 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger)

1 to 2 green cardamom pods, husked, seeds crushed

1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno, optional

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

3 large fresh apricots, pitted, chopped (about 2 cups)

1/2 cup golden raisins

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat; add the onion, seasoning with salt. Sweat until onion softens, about 2-3 minutes.

2. Add the ginger, cardamom and jalapeno, if using; cook to bring out the flavors, about 2 minutes. Add the cider and orange juice; bring to a simmer. Simmer on low, 5 minutes.

3. Stir apricots and raisins into the pan; simmer until apricots soften a bit, but retain their shape, 2 to 3 minutes. (Add a little water, if needed, so that you have enough liquid to cook the apricots and the chutney reaches your desired consistency.) Transfer to a bowl to cool; serve warm or at room temperature over ice cream. Leftovers keep, covered, in the refrigerator for a week or so. Use at room temperature or slightly warmed.

CHERRIES IN MOLE SAUCE

Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: 5 minutes

Makes: 3 cups

1/3 cup jarred mole paste

1 cup water

1 to 2 tablespoons cherry liqueur, such as maraschino, or brandy, optional

2 cups pitted, halved, dark sweet cherries (about ¾ pound)

1 tablespoon sugar, optional

1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1. Dissolve the mole paste in the water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring, until you have a smooth sauce. Add a litte more water as needed. Once dissolved, stir in the liqueur and sugar, if using, until sugar dissolves.

2. Allow the mole sauce to cool a few minutes; pour over the cherries in a bowl. Stir to coat the cherries; stir in the almonds. Serve warm over ice cream. Keeps, covered, in the refrigerator for about a week; warm gently until smooth and flowing before using.

STRAWBERRIES IN BALSAMIC SYRUP

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Makes: about 2 cups

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest

2 cups hulled, chopped strawberries

Freshly ground black pepper

Fresh basil leaves, slivered

1. Heat the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil; lower heat, so that vinegar gently boils. Cook until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 20 minutes. It should be thickened but not all the way to a syrup. Stir in the orange zest.

2. Allow to cool a few minutes; it should retain some heat but no longer be very hot. Pour over the strawberries in a bowl. Stir to coat the berries. Season generously with pepper. Stir in the basil. Serve over ice cream warm or at room temperature; keeps covered in the refrigerator up to a week.

NECTARINES WITH CANDIED BACON

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Makes: 2 cups

4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons brown sugar

4 medium nectarines, pitted, chopped (about 2 cups)

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the bacon; cook until fat begins to render, 8-10 minutes. Flip bacon to cook the other side, lowering heat to prevent burning if needed.

2. When fat is rendered, drain the fat from the skillet. Sprinkle brown sugar over bacon pieces; cook until sugar melts. Transfer to a plate; allow to cool.

3. Toss the nectarines in a bowl with the bacon; season with pepper and cinnamon to taste. Serve warm over ice cream. Keeps, covered, in the refrigerator for a week. Warm gently before using.

BLUEBERRY SHRUB

Prep: 5 minutes, plus standing time

Cook: 5 minutes

Makes: about 1 1/2 cups

From “Vinegar Revival” (Clarkson Potter, $19.99) by Harry Rosenblum. Shrubs are acid- and fruit-based beverages taken on their own or used as a base for cocktails. Rosenblum suggests using his blueberry shrub to top his balsamic ice cream. Store-bought vanilla works great too.

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (there is no need to thaw them if you’re using frozen)

1 cup sugar

2 cups sherry vinegar

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1. Place the berries and the sugar in a clean quart-sized jar with a tight-fitting lid and use a wooden spoon to crush the berries and release their juices. Let the closed jar sit for 4 hours at room temperature.

2. In a small nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, heat the vinegar to just below boiling (about 200 degrees F), then pour it over the blueberries and sugar. Add the nutmeg, seal the jar and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days.

3. Strain out the skins, discard and use the shrub immediately. It will keep tightly sealed in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Food & Dining

Dayton-raised comedian making headlines with Emmy win, feud and reported gun incident
Dayton-raised comedian making headlines with Emmy win, feud and reported gun incident

It’s been an eventful few days for Dayton-raised comedian Katt Williams. Williams won his first Emmy Sept. 8 at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards for being a guest actor on Donald Glover's acclaimed show “Atlanta.” He also told police he had a gun drawn on him and apparently made up with one of the nation&rsquo...
Schnitzel, sausage and spätzle on local brewery’s menu all month long for ‘Loktoberfest’
Schnitzel, sausage and spätzle on local brewery’s menu all month long for ‘Loktoberfest’

PROST! Can’t wait for Oktoberfest in Dayton? You can get your taste buds ready for the EPIC German celebration at Lock 27 Brewing during the entire month of September.  The brewery is serving a German-style menu daily and hosting special events on the weekends at both of its locations during ‘Loktoberfest.’ Take a...
Fresh summer tomatoes take classic Southern red rice to the next level
Fresh summer tomatoes take classic Southern red rice to the next level

The earliest designs on summer tomatoes are always the raw ones: tomato sandwiches, tomato salads, tomatoes peeled and sliced and fanned out on a platter, glistening like something more carnal than vegetal. They are the preparations for which the supermarket counterpart offers no fair approximation, the ones the tomato righteous may forgo eight or...
This salad makes good use of stale bread and not-so-pretty tomatoes
This salad makes good use of stale bread and not-so-pretty tomatoes

When you’re puzzled about what to do with leftover bread that’s getting stale, think panzanella. This Italian bread salad pairs herbs and vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers with cubes of leftover bread. Panzanella is drizzled lightly with a vinaigrette. The juices from the tomatoes and cucumber paired with the vinaigrette help...
What to do with all those cucumbers? Make pickles.
What to do with all those cucumbers? Make pickles.

So. Many. Cucumbers. My garden — more correctly, my husband’s garden — was overflowing with cucumbers. Lots of tomatoes and peppers, too, along with lesser amounts of carrots, eggplant, Egyptian spinach, zucchini and the list goes on. We tried everything to use up the cucumbers: Cucumber and avocado salad, cucumbers with couscous...
More Stories