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A peachy recipe for no-bake dessert

August 22, 2009|By LYNNE ROSSETTO KASPER / Scripps Howard News Service

Dear Lynne: What the heck is a gram? My doctor told me to eat no more than 30 grams of saturated fat a day and dashed off to his next patient. I was embarrassed to ask the nurse. A grown woman should know what a gram is, but I do not. Please fill me in. -- Gratefully, Jennifer

Dear Jennifer: Don't get flummoxed; we Americans don't live with the metric measuring system of grams, kilograms, centiliters and the like. Most of the rest of the planet uses this system, as do all those in scientific fields.

That said, many think this is a confusing way to communicate health information in the United States, where we live with ounces, pounds, teaspoons and tablespoons. Far easier to remember are measurements converted into our everyday references.

One gram is about 1/28 of an ounce. So 30 grams are a little over an ounce or about 2 tablespoons of fat. That is your limit of saturated fat for a day. Find metric conversion charts at http://metricconversioncharts.org/. This is handy to have, too, if you work with European recipes that use metrics.

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Dear Lynne: The steering wheels are melting here, it's so hot. Can you come up with a recipe for a fruit tart that uses no heat -- not the oven or the stove? I think people would be grateful for it, don't you? -- Wise Guy of the South

Dear Wise Guy: The challenge is accepted. Truth be known, the thought of turning on even a burner right now could lead me to desperate measures. It is hot here, too. Assumed in your challenge is no store-bought crust or fruit fillings, right?

See how the following works for you. Remember two things: Do the crust a day ahead and know you can substitute nectarines, apricots and plums for the peaches.

HEAT-FREE TART
OF FRESH PEACH AND ITALIAN CREAM



o Makes a 9-inch tart serving 6 to 8.

Italian cream provides a lush foil for the bite and crunch of a gingersnap-cookie crust while shielding it from turning to mush. (I'm an addict of not-too-sweet gingersnaps, my brand of choice is Mi Del.) Sugaring the fruit well in advance draws out its juices, replacing them with sweetness and preventing mushiness. Save the juices for spooning over the tart when it's served. Make the crust a day ahead.

Crust:

5 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1-1/2 cups coarsely ground gingersnap-cookie crumbs
(5 to 6 ounces, or 25 1-1/2-inch diameter cookies)
1/3 cup sugar

Fruit:

6 to 7 medium ripe peaches, peeled and sliced into 1-1/2-inch-thick wedges
Juice of 1/2 large lemon
Pinch of salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar, or to taste

Italian Cream:

1 pound high-quality whole-milk ricotta, well drained
1 teaspoon vanilla
Grated zest of 1/2 large lemon
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup sugar, or to taste
1/3 cup cold heavy whipping cream, whipped

At least a day ahead, have a 9-inch pie plate handy. Put softened butter in a medium bowl. Stir in the grated ginger, then the cookie crumbs and sugar. Mix well and press the crumb mixture into the pie plate's bottom and sides. Refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days.

Up to 3 hours before serving, combine the sliced fruit, lemon juice, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature about 2 hours. The fruit will throw off a lot of juice. Turn the fruit into a large strainer and set it over the bowl. Let it drain about an hour. Reserve the liquid.

Make the Italian cream. Drain any excess liquid from the ricotta. Transfer the ricotta to a food processor and add vanilla, zest, salt and sugar. Pulse until thoroughly combined. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the mixture; don't overmix or the cream will lose volume.

Spread roughly a third of the cream over the tart crust. Add the fruit, patting it down gently to level the surface. Top it with the rest of the cream. Serve immediately to ensure a crisp crust, and offer the reserved fruit liquid in a small pitcher to drizzle over the tart.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper hosts "The Splendid Table," American Public Media's weekly national show for people who love eat, and is the co-author of "The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories and Opinions." Ask questions and find Lynne, recipes and station listings at www.splendidtable.org or 800-537-5252.

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