Favourite stone fruit recipes
When I write about food I have an internal fight with myself. I want to make my writing and the recipes that sit next to it like talking to a friend. Like you are across the kitchen podding some peas or drinking a beer. Think Alison Roman or Nora Ephron. But, there is a but, I love long specific words and food poetry and saying things like burnished. Think Nigel and Nigella (first names only needed). So I try and find somewhere in the middle where I feel like I am talking to a friend but verbosity is also allowed.
One food that makes me want to headfirst into the Nigel/Nigella camp though, are stone fruits. There is something about their plumpness, their run down your chin juices and the way they go the very best type of burnished when you cook them, that makes me want to use all the long words.
I use apricots because I love the combination of them and almonds, but peaches, plums or nectarines all work well, too. This recipe works with fruit that is both over- and under-ripe – the batter holds soft fruit in place, and the heat brings out the sweetness in any less-than ripe specimens.
Brown sugar-spiked meringues, topped with roasted stone fruits and a foil of not-too-sweet whipped honeyed Greek yoghurt. If you are not making the pavlova, try roasting under-ripe fruit (or fruit that refuses) to ripen in the same way to get the best out of it.
Vegans can make meringues using aquafaba (the water from a can of chickpeas). Here is a quick recipe: Whip 150g chickpea water with a pinch of salt until very stiff, add 150g of caster sugar and 1½ tsp cream of tartar, and whip on high until the sugar grains have dissolved. Use coconut yoghurt in place of dairy and agave in place of the honey.
As the peaches roast, their sticky juices soak into the toast as it crisps around the edges. I use soft sourdough here, but you can use leftover brioche or panettone instead, if you like. I keep a jar of honeycomb in the cupboard for quick, beautiful puddings – its perfect geometry never ceases to amaze me and I love its pleasing chew. You could use a little more honey if you don’t have honeycomb.
The compote will last for up to two weeks in a jar in the fridge. Serve over yoghurt for breakfast or ripple through whipped cream for a quick dessert.
This is all about the balance between the flavourful leaves and the icy, cleansing flavour of fennel. Search out more unusual leaves if you can, but rocket and watercress will do fine. Peaches or plums would work well in place of the apricots. A simple, but perfectly balanced, salad.