Happy 4th of July!

Wishing a very Happy Independence Day to all who celebrate!

I’ll be back in the kitchen soon.

PeachMelba6B

Peach and Raspberry Tiramisu

 

 

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An Anniversary and an Easy Fresh Fruit Tiramisu

PeachMelba7BHi Everyone! I hope that your last couple of months (yes, two months almost!) have been lovely. All is well here. My time has been spent helping family get through some surgery and recovery, traveling, work, hiking, birthdays…you know, life in general. But all is good, I’m back online and ready to share more trails leading to good food.

I’ll start off by mentioning that not only is this my 200th post, but today is the 4 year anniversary of this blog! That first post, Ode to Red Speckled Grits, was all about testing the waters of websites and blogging…and once I started, I was hooked. Thanks to all of you who found me, encouraged me and joined me in this adventure. And thanks for sharing your own blogs while giving me informative and fun dialog along the way. Please join me for the beginning of the next 4 years!

Celebrations require some dessert, and with all of the lovely fruits available in this almost summer season, I want to share a quick and easy celebratory recipe where fresh fruit is the star. I’ve always loved tiramisu…the little “pick me up” from Italy. The traditional recipe involves a rich and delicious combo of ladyfingers, cream, mascarpone, coffee, marsala wine, chocolate and sometimes egg yolks. Nothing wrong with that.

This version, however, is a little lighter take on the original and can be quite versatile in terms of changing out seasonal fruits and whatever booze strikes your fancy. Filled with juicy berries and peaches, creamy mascarpone cheese lightened with yogurt and a bit of fresh citrus zest for some zing—along with the traditional ladyfingers and liquor—this satisfying dessert keeps much of the texture and feel of the original tiramisu with about half the calories. It’s a “pick me up” that comes together quickly, resulting in a cool, light and elegant dessert, just perfect for the hot weather season or whenever you need a delicious finish to a meal. Try my two variations below and then have some fun experimenting on your own.

BlueberryPeach1

Easy Fresh Fruit Tiramisu for 2
(can be doubled or quadrupled as needed)

For Blueberry-Peach-Almond Tiramisu:
3/4 cup fresh blueberries, washed and dried
1 cup fresh peaches, peeled and sliced, with their juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
3 generous tablespoons mascarpone cheese
1 generous tablespoon plain greek yogurt (I use 2%)
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
3 teaspoons of amaretto, divided
4 hard italian ladyfingers (can use the soft kind if you prefer, but hard holds up better)
1 generous tablespoon of toasted, slivered almonds

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, mascarpone, yogurt, powdered sugar and one teaspoon of Amaretto, until smooth. Break two ladyfingers into four pieces each and place four pieces (one ladyfinger for each glass) into the bottom of two pretty glasses…low ball, brandy snifter or wine glasses work perfectly. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of Amaretto per glass over the ladyfingers. Spoon 1/4 of the peaches and some juice over the ladyfingers in each glass, then top with 1/4 of the blueberries per glass. Layer 1 generous Tablespoon of the mascarpone mixture on top of the fruit in each glass. Sprinkle 1/4 of the toasted almonds into each glass. Repeat the layers with the remaining ladyfingers broken into 4 pieces each, the Amaretto, peaches, blueberries and mascarpone mixture evenly divided, and finish with the remaining toasted almonds. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to blend. Serve and enjoy.

Peachmelba1For Peach “Melba” Tiramisu:
Substitute 3/4 cup fresh raspberries for the blueberries, orange zest for the lemon and Grand Marnier for the Amaretto. Omit almonds and proceed the same as for Blueberry-Peach-Almond, garnishing the top with a raspberry and some fresh mint, if desired.

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A few scenes from our latest adventures in North Carolina.

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Peachy Pops!

PeachGingerMintpop

Frozen fresh Peach, Ginger and Mint Pops are refreshing and light!

Peach "Melba" Pops are so colorful....they take me to my happy place.

Peach “Melba” Pops are so colorful and cool….they take me to my happy place.

Peaches!

I don’t know if I even need to write much more than that word to evoke salivation, do I?

Peach season is in full force here right now. This year I wanted to try making some new peachy delights and I just happened to have some popsicle molds I bought on sale at the end of last summer that were crying out to be used.

Enter these two homemade frozen peachy pops! So easy to make, and endless variations can, and will, be explored.

PeachGingerMintpop2

Frozen delights on a stick!

First up is a refreshingly light Peach, Ginger and Mint combo…the perfect antidote to a hot and steamy summer day! With August just around the corner and July heating up exponentially each passing moment, this particular frozen pop is on my short list for the next couple of months. It reminds me of an ice cold peach tea, but is more toothsome from using the whole fruit.

My second and latest frozen concoction is a Peach “Melba” Pop. Peaches and raspberries are truly a match made in heaven, and this pop exemplifies that. The only variation on this one that I might try is to stir the raspberry mixture through the pop with a stick before freezing, just to swirl those flavors throughout. But honestly, this pop is lip-smacking and tongue-tinglingly good just as I’ve written it. The tiny bit of Grand Marnier in the raspberry puree really amps up the peach and the raspberry flavor, adding a richness to the pop that might otherwise be missing. And it’s, well, a winner…there’s no other way to say it!

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There’s an added bonus to this peach melba recipe, too. If you use the four-pop molds that I use, you’ll have a little extra peachy goodness left over to pop into an ice cube tray and add to your next tea or cocktail. Of course you could just make more puree to start with to ensure having some leftover for this very purpose. Peachylicious!

Peach, Ginger and Mint Pops
Makes 4 – 6 oz. pops

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar (I use cane sugar)
3 slices of fresh, peeled ginger, about 1/16  inch thick
1 1/2 cups fresh peeled and sliced peaches (about 3-4 depending on size)
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
4 – 6 oz. pop molds or 4 small paper cups and wooden popsicle sticks

Prepare the sugar syrup by placing the water, sugar and ginger in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

In a food processor, combine the peaches, mint and sugar syrup and puree until smooth. Pour the puree into 4 – 6 oz. pop molds or 4 small paper cups, dividing evenly. Place the pop mold stick tops into the molds and secure, or place your popsicle sticks into each cup. Freeze until hard and well frozen, about 6-8 hours. Unmold by carefully submerging each pop in a bowl of hot water for just a few seconds, to loosen the pop from the sides of the mold, taking care not to allow the water to get into the mold or touch the frozen pop. Remove the pop from the mold or cup and enjoy.

Peach “Melba” Pops
Makes 4 – 6 oz. pops

1/4 cup granulated sugar (I use cane sugar)
1/2 cup water
1 cup fresh raspberries
2 more tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
1 1/2 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches
4 – 6 oz. pop molds or 4 small paper cups and wooden popsicle sticks

Prepare the sugar syrup by placing the water and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

Prepare the raspberry puree by placing the raspberries, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier into a small saucepan over low heat and cook until the sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes a puree, about 5 minutes, pressing the berries with the back of the spoon to help them break down. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.

In a food processor, combine the peaches, and sugar syrup and puree until smooth. Pour 1/3 of the peach puree into each of the 4 – 6 oz. pop molds or 4 small paper cups, dividing evenly. Divide the raspberry puree between the 4 pop molds, gently spooning it on top of the peach puree. Pour the remaining peach puree on top of the raspberry, filling to just below the top of the mold. (At this point you can take a small skewer and run it through the whole mixture if you want to swirl the raspberry throughout, or just leave it layered as shown.)

Place the pop mold stick tops into the molds and secure, or place your popsicle sticks into each cup. Freeze until hard and well frozen, about 6-8 hours. Unmold by carefully submerging each pop in a bowl of hot water for just a few seconds, to loosen the pop from the sides of the mold, taking care not to allow the water to get into the mold or touch the frozen pop. Remove the pop from the mold or cup and enjoy.

Want more? Here are some other delectably peachy recipes of mine to try once you have your pops in the freezer: Just Peachy Ice Cream (possibly the best peach ice cream ever!), Star Spangled Cherry Berry Peach Crumble, Mom’s Easy Peach and Blueberry Crisp, A Very Short Little Peach Cake, Susan’s Nectarine (or Peach) Lemon Buttermilk Sorbet with Bourbon.