GC Market Day: The Best No-Cook Stone Fruit Desserts
GC Market Day is a Garden Collage feature where we spotlight new, intriguing recipes using ingredients sourced almost exclusively from the Farmers Market– right down to the butter and honey. This week, we highlight some delicious stone fruit and cheese pairings with a focus on teasing out the dessert-like qualities of stone fruit, including cherries and yogurt, apricots and chevre, and peaches and ricotta– the perfect combinations for a light summer treat.
It’s pretty hard to find a bad peach this time of year. And not to be outdone, cherries, apricots, and plums are starting to show up to the market in their full glory. If you bought stone fruits in June, they may have been a little pale and shy; it’s best to cook those in a crumble or a galette. But now they are ready and cooking them is almost a crime (unless you’re grilling, in which case, carry on).
We don’t often think of dairy as having the same seasonality as fruit, but a lot of effort and engineering goes into providing a uniform supply of milk, yogurt, or cheese year round since calves and therefore milk are naturally a seasonal occurrence. Now is the time for rich yogurts, cream milk, and cheese from grass-fed animals. Since the cows, goats, and sheep have been grazing on fresh grass for a few months now, their milk is almost pale yellow– full of beneficial fats and vitamins.
So here we offer three no-cook desserts combining stone fruit and farm fresh dairy. I like to make individual servings that guests can eat like a tiny ice cream sundae, but use a cheese board and make it a communal experience if you like. Either way, keep it simple and fresh, and these desserts will be even easier than a freezer pie.
Peaches and Ricotta with Honey and Thyme
- 2 ripe peaches, roughly diced
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tbsps raw honey
- smoked flake salt
- Recipe serves two
Drain ricotta if necessary and scoop into individual dishes with an ice cream scooper. Slice fresh peaches and dump over the ricotta scoop. Drizzle raw honey over everything and then sprinkle fresh-picked thyme leaves on top. We used Silver Queen time because of its sweet lemony flavor. Standard variety thyme would work as well, but do not use dry spices or the spiky texture will disrupt the dish. Lemon zest would also be a delicious topper. Finish by lightly topping with a bit of smoked flake salt– I used Halen Mon, but there are several great brands out there. You can skip this step, but I would think twice: Ricotta has great texture but it’s a blank slate in the flavor department. Adding the salt to play off of the honey completes the picture.
Apricots and Herbed Chevre
- 3-4 apricots, halved and pitted
- ½ cup herbed chevre
- 2 tbsp raw honey
- handful of almond toasted and ground (optional)
- Recipe serves two
There are lots of herbs that go very well with the tartness of fresh apricots, so you can let your local cheesemonger make your decision on this one. I found a lavender and honey chevre at my market with that heady floral intensity that comes from whole lavender buds– not for everyone, but I can’t get enough. Thyme, rosemary, and sage are also fantastic with fruit and honey. For this one we used a cookie dough scoop to portion out the chevre onto apricot halves. Add a drizzle of honey and pop em like bonbons. A sprinkle of toasted almonds put through a coffee grinder wouldn’t hurt one bit either.
Balsamic Sour Cherries and Sheep’s Milk Yogurt with Maple
- ½ pint sour cherries
- 2 tbls balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup sheep’s milk yogurt
- 2 tbsp real maple syrup
- Recipe serves two
Sour cherries are so fun to work with in the kitchen because they have such a strong tart flavor that adds intrigue to pretty much anything. Half them and toss them in a grain salad with herbs, or sweeten them up with some natural sweeteners to create a sour candy for adults. I like to half my cherries and soak them in a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Place about ½ cup of sheep’s milk yogurt (which has a grassier, milder flavor that doesn’t add to the tartness of the cherries) in a small dessert bowl and then top with a heaping spoonful of the cherries and vinegar. Finish with a drizzle of real maple syrup and I dare you to not eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.