Sunday, December 16, 2007

Baked Nectarines

Sun 16 Dec 2007

As a rule, I don't buy out of season produce. This is for several reasons ... it costs too much, it's generally rubbish and (of course) it's not within my ethical remit to eat something which has been flown half way across the world.

However, I was really struggling to pick a recipe from December's AGT because the recipes were either too summery (yes, I'd love squid salad with a glass of Chablis, thanks - but not when I can see frozen bird baths at 3 in the afternoon), or too Christmassy. Baked stone fruit sounded quick and easy - and (more importantly!) HOT.

So, generally food snobbery and environmental concerns aside I bought six sad nectarines from the local supermarket. They were marked down to just £1 and had come all the way from South Africa. Despite having hit their sell by/use by/display until date they were rock hard but starting to shrivel.

The filling was a lot more successful. The same supermarket happened to have bags of amaretti, and, after a fortifying cup of tea and biscuit sampling exercise, I dragged out the Magimix.

The recipe in the AGT did involve quantities, but these went by the way side. I coarsely processed about 8 biscuits, added in probably a good tablespoon plus of ground almonds, a tablespoon of golden syrup, some butter (relatively finely chopped) and finished the mix off with a generous dash of rum. The mix was pretty solid and tasted unbelievably good. Given the parlous state of the nectarines I was worried about spoiling the filling. This worry mounted when I could barely cut the nectarines, let alone separate them from their stones. Unsurprisingly, the flesh was violently tart.

The oven was preheated to around 220C, the nectarine sort-of-halves were arranged on a baking tray and the filling spooned in. Just 10 minutes later, they were ready.

Baked Nectarines

Despite misgivings about the fruit (me) and the whole concept (Andy) this went down a treat. There was some filling left over, so we ate some and mixed the remainder with cream - some of which went on the nectarines and some of which was just eaten.

It's difficult to describe how good this tasted, and all I can say is that, if you happen to be in the southern hemisphere and enjoying PROPER stone fruit - give it a go. It's quick, simple and almost a true storecupboard standby. We scoffed the nectarines for afternoon tea, but it would do just as well as an improptu (or otherwise) dessert.

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