T’is the season to be jolly so take your holiday recipes up a notch by bringing luscious plums, peaches and nectarines to your table.
Besides packing a low-calorie nutritious punch to counterbalance indulgent summer holiday temptations, these delicious stone fruits are incredibly versatile when it comes to entertaining. From fresh and succulent salads and roasts enriched with tangy sweetness, to decadent yet light desserts and refreshing fruity cocktails, everyone will be asking for seconds, so don’t expect any leftovers!
Even the colours of these sensational summer fruits are perfect for sprucing up your table and there is no need to be concerned when the little ones start tucking into the decorations.
The talented and much-loved TV chefs, Justine Drake and Jenny Morris, have created fabulous recipes with stone fruit adding the extra zing.
Justine’s peach Prosecco cocktail is sure to get the celebrations off to a peachy start, while her mini Pavlovas with nectarine and burnt sugar shards will have everyone licking their lips at the end of the meal.
Peach Prosecco cocktail
You’ll need: 2 peach-flavoured tea bags; 250ml boiling water; 183ml white sugar; 4-8 basil leaves; 1-2 peaches, thinly sliced; 1 bottle (750ml) Prosecco (Sparkling wine or Cap Classique are good alternatives).
Pop the tea bags into the water and infuse them to make a strong tea. Place the tea and sugar in a pot and boil to reduce by half and create a simple peach syrup. Allow cooling.
Place 15ml of the peach syrup at the bottom of each champagne flute.
Add 2 peach slices and 1 basil leaf and top with ice-cold Prosecco.
Mini Pavlovas with nectarine and burnt sugar shards
Makes 8 mini Pavlovas or one large one
You’ll need: For the meringue – 4 egg whites; pinch of cream of tartar; 200g castor sugar; 7ml vanilla essence
For the topping – 4-6 nectarines; juice of 1 large orange; 15-30ml orange liqueur, optional; 250ml cream, whipped
For the burnt sugar shards – 2 Tbsp water; ¾ cup sugar
Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar to medium-stiff peaks.
Add castor sugar a tablespoon at a time every few minutes – the sugar should dissolve completely before adding the next spoonful. Whisk until all the sugar has been added and the meringue is smooth, thick and glossy.
Place large dollops of the meringue mixture onto a lined baking tray taking care to allow enough space between each one.
Using the back of a teaspoon, create a well in the middle of each to create a nest.
Bake at 100°C for about 1 hour. Cool completely in the oven before removing.
Thinly slice nectarines and macerate in orange juice and liqueur for no longer than 30 minutes.
Spoon the cream into the meringue nests and arrange the nectarines on top. Decorate with sugar shards and mint leaves if you like.
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place water and sugar into a heavy-based pot.
Cook over medium heat to dissolve the sugar – do not stir as crystals will form. Once the sugar starts to dissolve, increase the heat and cook until dark brown.
Pour the caramel onto a baking sheet in a thin, even layer. Cool and chop or break into shards. Store in an airtight container until needed.
Do not refrigerate or the shards will become tacky.
Jenny’s summer plum and prawn salad is a luxurious starter before the big reveal – her succulent roasted beef fillet adorned with chunky plums.
Summer plum and prawn salad
You’ll need: For the salad – 6 large firm, ripe plums, peeled, pitted and cubed; 200g butter lettuce; 1 cup of cubed English cucumber; 400g cooked prawn meat; 1 cup of bean sprouts; 2 spring onions with tops, sliced; ½ red pepper diced; 2 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander.
For the spicy plum and chilli dressing – 125ml olive oil; 3 Tbsp lime juice; 1 tsp lime zest; 1 Tbsp fish sauce; 1 Tbsp brown sugar.
Prepare the salad dressing first by blending all the ingredients in a food processor. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Layer the salad ingredients on a serving platter, moistening each of the layers with
the chilli dressing as you go. Serve immediately.
Roasted fillet with chunky plums
You’ll need: 1kg beef fillet trimmed; salt and pepper to taste; 2 tsp ground cumin; 300g firm, red, ripe plums; 2 Tbsp olive oil; 2 Tbsp onion, finely chopped; 1 clove of garlic, crushed; 1 tsp ginger, grated; 1 red chilli, sliced; 3 Tbsp white sugar; 2 whole star anise; 200ml port; ½ cup lemon juice; juice of 1 orange; zest of 1 orange; 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar; 1 Tbsp soy sauce; 1 tsp sesame oil; 2 Tbsp of fresh coriander.
First, get the sauce started. Stone and halve the plums. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Cook stirring for 2 minutes and then add the sugar and star anise.
Cook stirring until sugar dissolves and add a little port to prevent it from burning. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the remaining port, lemon juice, orange juice, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Place the plums into the mixture and simmer gently until tender but not overcooked – about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and remove the plums with a slotted spoon and set aside. Stir in the sesame oil, orange zest and coriander. Return the plums to the sauce.
To prepare the meat, rub the fillet with olive oil and then season with salt, pepper and ground cumin. Heat a frying pan until it is hot and then seal the meat on all sides until nice and brown. Roast in the oven at 180°C for 15 minutes. Rest the fillet for 10 minutes and then slice the meat. Spoon over the plum sauce and serve.
Tip: This sauce is also delicious with pork, chicken, lamb, duck and ostrich.
Stone fruit are in season all summer long and perfect for snacking on their own, so make sure to put plums, peaches and nectarines on your holiday shopping list.
Follow @juicydelicioussa on Instagram or head over to www.juicydelicious.co.za for some recipe inspiration.