To dramatically transform fruit that
is underripe or boring– or to bring aged, dried fruit back to
life–just cook it in a little butter, and then add a touch of
sugar, which will caramelize into a sweet crust. The whole thing
can be done on the stovetop, or you can use a combination of the
stovetop and the broiler. The fruit gets quite soft from the
cooking, so be sure it is fairly firm to begin with.
This recipe calls for 1/2 to 3/4 pound fruit. With fresh fruit,
this more or less translates into any of the following: 2
medium-sized apples, peaches, or pears, 6 average fresh apricots or
figs, 3 to 4 plums, or half a medium pineapple. (With dried fruit,
just weigh it.)
- This tastes really good accompanied by some
fresh ricotta cheese.
- If you intend to broil the fruit, make sure the pan has an
1/2 pound fruit
1 to 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vinegar (raspberry, cider, or balsamic)
3/4 to 1 teaspoon sugar
Orange juice (up to 1/4 cup)
Squeezable lemon or lime wedges
- Prepare the fruit: Halve and pit apricots and plums. Quarter
and pit–or thickly slice– peaches, apples, and pears.
Cut figs in half. Peel and trim pineapple, and cut it into 3/4-
inch slices. Leave dried fruit whole.
- Place a medium-small pan over medium heat for about a minute.
Add the butter, and when it melts, swirl to coat the pan.
(Optional: Preheat the broiler.)
- Reduce the heat to medium-low. Place the fruit skin side-down
in the melted butter, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until it
- Turn the fruit over, and press it down gently. (Press dried
fruit flat.) Drizzle with vinegar, and cook on the second side for
about 3 minutes, or until tender. Sprinkle sugar over the top, and
continue cook just until the sugar melts.
- If desired, place under the preheated broiler for about 3 to 5
minutes or until the sugar turns golden. (Check every minute after
3 minutes, to be sure it doesn't burn.) In the case of dried fruit,
broil until the sugar forms an exquisite chewy crust. 6) Remove the
pan from the heat, and transfer the fruit to a plate with a rim,
spooning out (and over the fruit) as much of the sauce as you can
- Pour the orange juice into the pan, and return it to low heat
for a minute or so, mixing and scraping to deglaze the rest of the
sauce. Pour this over the top, too.
- Serve hot or warm, with squeezable citrus wedges.
Variation: Caramelizing Bananas
2 medium-sized bananas (not too
ripe!)–halved around the middle, then quartered
Fresh lime juice (in place of vinegar)
Pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg
Follow the same procedure, using lime juice in
place of the vinegar, and adding pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg
with the sugar.