Tag Archives: Dessert

& Cream

Years ago, I dated a guy who called me “Peach Pit.” Seemingly cute, the nickname is (upon further consideration) less-than-flattering. The pit, after all, is the gnarled, shrunken, crusty-colored nucleus of the fragrant fruit. Why didn’t duder call me “peach,” instead? Hard to say — well, not that hard: this guy was, in many regards, a doucher — but I choose to believe that the name hinted at my necessity to the rest of the being — my regenerative qualities, perhaps?

No matter: Peach Pit’s alliteration is cute, and peaches aren’t anything without the pit, amirite?

I’ve been thinking about peaches lately — not in an abstract sense, but in a very practical, “Hmmm, I’ve got two peaches on my table that are soon-to-spoil” sense. Last week, intending to make a cobbler, I bought a bunch of peaches — five or six. Then — doi! — I realized that making a cobbler just for myself wasn’t the wisest idea*. I rationalized that I could make a series of individual cobblers: single-serve desserts made for me, by me, to order! But you know what? That seemed like a pain in the ass; also, I don’t have any tiny, ovenproof dishes.** Long story short, I bought too many peaches, and the two I had left were a wee bit overripe.

What did I do? Throw those peaches out? NO! To do that would be to incur the long-distance wrath of my mom, a longtime crusader against food waste. Naw, people: I made a randomass baked dessert, pictured here:

Before being baked.

Ready to be eaten.

It’s quite simple to make. Here’s the method:

  1. Take a peach (or nectarine) that’s too soft for normal, everyday eating.
  2. After washing said peach, slice it in half and remove the pit.
  3. Fill the pit cavity with brown sugar — amount to be determined by you!
  4. Top the peach with shredded coconut. Again, use as much or as little as you like.
  5. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 10 – 12 minutes, or until the peach looks soft and the coconut is gently browned.
  6. Enjoy with a glass of wine. Or not, but I opt for wine.

The benefits of this dessert, pêche a la Gark, are manifold:

  • The dessert helps you use up about-to-spoil fruit
  • The dessert is a dessert
  • The dessert is healthier than peanut M&Ms, donuts, Pop Tarts, and many other things
  • The dessert may trick people into thinking you know how to prepare innovative stuff, when really you just topped a peach with a bunch of stuff and popped it in the oven

What are you waiting for? Aren’t those peaches (or nectarines) ripe enough? Until they are, you could sate your sweet tooth with cobbler. Incidentally, if you made cobbler, save me a slice.

***

*It’s not the worst idea, either — I wouldn’t have minded eating cobbler for every meal, but the Rational Adult in me thought better of it.

**Hey you! If you’d like to get me some tiny, ovenproof dishes as a housewarming gift, I wouldn’t be averse. Just saying. Failing that, I’ll probably schlep to Sur la Table in the next week or two, because I’m sold on the idea of personal cobblers.

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No-bake Nightmare?

Earlier this week, I announced my plan to prepare the Licorice Allsorts Slice. I’d never previously seen this dessert, but 1) the accompanying photo was so pretty! and 2) I lovelovelove licorice, so I threw better judgment to the wind and whipped up a sample batch. The result served as a reminder of why precision is necessary in recipes, and also that one should trust one’s gut if one secretly believes that a dessert (no matter how glamorized the photo is) is really a gussied up, Australian version of Rice Krispie treats.

Saturday morning, Hook and I went to the grocery store to pick up the necessary ingredients. The recipe calls for “plain sweet biscuits” to be used as the slice’s base. Plain, sweet biscuits? No problem! I planned to use some sort of butter cookies, but the store had none. (Dual-colored Oreos were in stock, however.) Plan B was shortbread. Here I hesitated, knowing that the shortbreads might be too crumbly and soft to form a substantial base, but I bought them, anyway.

BUTTER! Butter and sweetened, condensed milk, that is. This was the first time I'd used condensed milk.

Of the three stores Hook and I visited (one supermarket and two corner stores), none had Licorice Allsorts. This was no surprise. When I get Allsorts, I purchase them either from the Wonderful Foods Co. (best candy store in the Outer Sunset!) or, more rarely, from Bristol Farms. In this neck of the woods — unlike in Australia, I’d presume — Allsorts are not a staple of the snack aisle. So I compromised, buying a licorice mix that included red and black licorice nibs in addition to a brand-x version of Good and Plentys. (Note: I’ve bought this mix many times before and can attest to its tastiness and quality. Note note: the Allsorts Slice recipe actually mentioned that other candies could be subbed in for the Allsorts, so in using the alternate licorice variety, I wasn’t totally butchering the recipe.)

Licorice and biscuit rubble.

The recipe recommended that the cookies be broken down in a food processor, so I ground the called-for amount in my tiny Cuisinart. As I’d predicted, the shortbreads turned to a sandy mush. To compensate for this potentially fatal breach of the Slice’s structural integrity, I hand-crushed a few additional cookies and added them to the mix, hoping that the larger chunks would solidify the dessert’s base.

The rest of the prep went smoothly. I melted together the butter and sweetened, condensed milk (mothers and People Who Like to Fit Into Their Pants, read no further) and combined this mixture with the “biscuit rubble” and candy. I pressed the sugary concrete into a pan and, while the Slice formed, I melted chocolate in an improvised double boiler. I poured the melted chocolate over the slice, leveling it with a spatula. Finally, I slid the Slice into the freezer to harden.

Melting the chocolate.

How, then, was the result? Not bad. Predictably tooth-rotting, but sweet and buttery, with the consistency of fudge. The combination of shortbread and chocolate is one of my favorites; the integration of licorice didn’t add much to the dish. That is, the licorice bits got lost in the shortbread/condensed milk “batter,” and the flavors of the chocolate and the shortbread dominated. I won’t likely be making the Licorice Allsorts Slice in the near future, but in the event of a Throwback Potluck or another Grey Gardens party, I’ll consider it among my other gelatin-and-sugar-heavy options.

My weekend project has been decided for me:

These are the nicest Allsorts I've ever seen -- and I've seen a lot.

Licorice Allsort Slice, submitted by fuss free cooking on Foodbuzz. If you haven’t tried licorice allsorts, get thee to a confectionary stat! They are one of the best-ever “old man candies” (more on this later), and one that I discovered only a year ago. My favorites are the coconut licorices: rings of coconut candy, dyed Pepto pink or Peeps yellow, encircling bits of black licorice. Of course, the multicolored sandwich stax are tasty, too.

I realize that the Allsort Slice falls into the same category as M&M-spiked Rice Krispie treats and Puppy Chow, but guess what? This coming weekend is a holiday weekend, and therefore I give myself full license to make the most teeteringly-decadent sweet treat(s) I can find. End-of-summer sugar coma, here we come!