I moved to Austin a few years ago. While packing up our previous home, I realized that over the three-year period that we lived there, I had barely used some of the many spices I had purchased when we moved in. Although spices rarely spoil, they lose their flavor with time. For this reason, when I restocked our current home, I decided to buy spices in smaller quantities to minimize storage life. Both Whole Foods and Central Market sell a wide variety of spices that can be purchased in small quantities in their bulk food sections. I would give some serious consideration to buying spices like this. Food tastes better with fresh ingredients, and there’s no reason your spices shouldn’t be fresh either. I recently surveyed what spices needed to be replenished and found that my cardamom needed use. Cardamom is one of the most expensive spices due the fact that it is hand-picked and difficult to grow. It’s commonly found in Indian cuisine but can be added to desserts like ice cream for an unconventional but delicious result.
There are still plenty of local Texas grown peaches at the local market. Roasted peaches with marscapone or ricotta cheese is a classic combination, but not a revelation. I decided to make an Indian-spiced dessert with cardamom while peaches are still in season. It seemed like a great use for my cardamom and it was. The flowery undertones of the cardamom pair wellwith mint. Adding crystalized ginger to almond brittle is surprisingly good. There’s enough for the recipe and to snack on afterwards too.
Here’s a few tips for when you craft this dessert. Cutting a slice off the rounded end of the peach half will add stability when roasting and plating. I also like to use a melon baller to scoop out some of the peach flesh so that there’s some extra room for the ricotta mixture.
- 4 ripe peaches halved
- 3 oz sliced almonds
- 1.5 oz crystalized ginger chopped
- ⅛ c water
- ⅛ c light corn syrup
- ½ c sugar
- 2 tbsp butter
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 cup ricotta cheese (room temperature)
- ½ tsp cardamom
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup chopped ginger almond brittle
- 1 tbsp chopped mint + 8 leaves for garnish
- For the peaches:
- Roast the peaches in a 375 degree oven until softened and the tops are slightly browned.
- Toast the almonds on a cookie sheet in the oven until slightly browned. Set aside and once cooled mix with the ginger.
- Combine the remaining water, corn syrup, sugar and butter in a large saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture changes to light caramel color. Remove from heat and add the baking soda and stir. Moving quickly, add the nuts and ginger to the caramel and spread the hot brittle onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet to cool.
- In a small bowel, combine the remaining ingredients.
- Scoop the mixture into the roasted peaches and garnish with remaining mint. Serve immediately.