The Stock Pot: Sweet Treats – Summer Fruit Medley with Creamy Mascarpone
Well, the tub of mascarpone sat in my refrigerator untouched for over two weeks. I picked up the buttery-rich Italian cheese (pronounced mah-skar-POH-nay) at my gourmet cheese shop, with the same infatuation that I approach so many other specific and seasonal ingredients – with great intention to star my obsession-of-the-week in some new groundbreaking recipe. At first, I thought I might swirl a little of it in a tomato-based dish to elevate the humble sautéed chicken breast with a luxurious, silky sauce. Then, I considered making a sinful cheesecake with a passion fruit caramel sauce. One morning, I even contemplated a 5-star treatment to our morning breakfast, embellishing our scrambled eggs with some of this lovely cow’s milk cheese. But nothing felt right.
So, poor Mascarpone just sat there next to my coveted Pack Square Brie and block of European butter. And sat there. And every time I opened my refrigerator door, there it was, all sad and neglected, just begging to be used. Begging to be loved. I told myself that I was saving Mascarpone for something really special. Waiting for just the right time to engage its services when the proverbial light bulb went off for some truly edgy culinary direction. But in truth, this delicately flavored cheese needs little embellishment other than fruit.
I decided to lighten it a bit with some – here comes the oxymoronic part – heavy cream, some confectioners’ sugar to sweet the deal and a little flavor love from vanilla and almond extracts. With all the beautiful, ripe fruits and berries available now, to me, it’s the essence of the easy season for an unforgettable dessert and the perfect way to end a summer meal.
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
- 2 cups fresh blackberries
- 2 cups sliced fresh nectarines
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- one (8-ounce) tub mascarpone
- In a large bowl, gently combine the fruit, sugar and orange juice.
- With a hand-held electric mixer, beat the cream with the sugar until soft peaks form. Add in the extracts. Add in the mascarpone and mix until combined and smooth. Place the creamy mascarpone in a bowl and serve alongside the fruit.
Planning: The creamy mascarpone will keep for several days covered in the refrigerator.
Product Purity: Use the real deal when it comes to extracts. Nielsen-Massey rocks.
Presentation: I like to serve the fruit with some biscotti. The crumbs make a nice textural garnish for the creamy mascarpone and the little twice-baked cookies add a nice crunch to the dessert. Mint (especially my new love, grapefruit mint) adds flavor and color to the fruit.
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