Elegant end to a meal? Seasonal fresh fruit

Elegant end to a meal? Seasonal fresh fruit

Q. Is there a simple dessert, relatively low in fat and calories, that I could serve to dinner guests without making them feel a bit slighted in the dessert department?
— A.H.

A. Using seasonally available fresh fruit is always an elegant way to end a meal.

For the fall, I love to bake apples and fill them with honey, cooked oatmeal, cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as rehydrated dried fruits. I then put the apples in a bath of cider and, after about 40 minutes in a 350-degree oven, they are tender and the house smells great.

During the winter, I tend to go tropical because it is easy to find pineapples, kiwis, star fruit and papayas in the supermarket. A fruit salad is always nice, maybe mixed with a bit of Grand Marnier.

In spring, there are tasty offerings at the local farmers’ market. Berries with a touch of whipped cream is an easy option. Or try a mixed melon salad marinated in a lively sauvignon blanc. In the summer, peaches, nectarines and plums always make a spectacular debut grilled and topped off with a bit of sweetened vanilla yogurt.

If you stick with what is fresh, you can’t go wrong. Personally, I think a perfect peach or a bowl full of berries is always a great way to end a meal, so guests aren’t overstuffed.

Q. Is there a difference between using salted or unsalted butter when baking? I am thinking that using salted butter will save a step in adding the salt routinely called for in recipes.
— Jennie

A. Salted butter contains more water than unsalted butter.

When you are making any pastry, what you want from butter is a high fat content. This is what makes your cookies chewy.

I can see why you would think that salted butter would save a step, but in this case, stick with unsalted butter and your baked goods will benefit.

If you have a question for Nancy Schneider, email her at askchefnancy@gmail.com.


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Published at Thu, 20 Oct 2016 12:00:00 +0000