This is a great way to make a lovely fruit dessert even in mid-winter when finding ripe nectarines or peaches is nearly impossible. This could be made with plums as well.
Buy the best fruit you can find and keep them for a day or so. The fruit in this dessert doesn’t have to be very ripe since it cooks in a wonderfully flavorful liquid.
Ingredients – Serves 4-6
8-10 medium to large nectarines or peaches
1 cup (240ml) sweet white dessert wine
3 Tablespoons (45g) Vanilla Bean Paste (I love Neilson-Massey Madagascar Vanilla)
1/2 cup (115g) unrefined light muscovada (brown) sugar, (add more if you like things sweeter)
1 cup (250g) mascarpone
Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas4
Wash, stone and cut the fruit either in half or quarters if very large. Place them cut side up in an oven-proof glass or ceramic dish.
Combine the wine, vanilla paste and brown sugar, stir to mix well. Pour over the fruit.
Drop little dollops of mascarpone all over the fruit.
Bake until fruit is soft but not to the point of collapsing, about 15-20 minutes. Serve at room temperature or warmer if desired.
Be sure everyone gets their share of juice.
To make this extra special, serve with biscotti or Amaretti biscuits that you soak in the juice before eating.
Now For Some Interesting Information About Nectarines
Nectarines and peaches are virtually the same fruit. The difference between them comes down to one recessive gene that results in the fuzz on the peach and the lack of it on the nectarine, according to scientists. The two fruits are grown on the same tree by grafting branches from nectarine trees onto peach trees.
With over 4000 different varieties, nectarines have become a favorite fruit with over 70,000 tons of nectarines grown annually in the USA. Over 1.8 million tons of peaches are also grown annually.
Nectarines and peaches both come from the Prunus persica, a deciduous tree that originated in China over 2000 years ago.
Nutritionally nectarines are really good for you. They contain no cholesterol, almost no fat and more vitamin C and potassium than peaches, plus twice the vitamin A.
Buy nectarines as ripe as possible since once they’ve been picked that’s as sweet as they will get. If the fruit is hard when you buy it, try putting it, in a single layer, into a paper bag to soften. You can speed up this process by putting a banana in with the nectarines but you’ll have to check them at least once a day since they can go from hard to soft to rotten very quickly.