David Lebovitz's Gateaux Bastille
Russ Parsons' Fresh Corn Blini

Peaches and Cream


What do you do when the gloriously perfumed stone fruit that you so carefully selected from large bins at the market one day, transitions too quickly from the promise of juicy, pliant flesh to an almost decadent state of over-ripeness? Slice away the offending areas, douse in an acidic slosh of citrus juice and booze, and serve with a floppy crown of cream. There's no real recipe for this, because so much depends on the state of your fruit and what you have on hand in your kitchen cupboards, and what your personal taste decrees. So, use my suggestions as a guideline and feel free to experiment. Important is only that your fruit not be the mealy supermarket kind, devoid of all flavor and texture.

First, I slice up whatever stone fruit I have that needs to consumed that very minute. Last night, it consisted of a nectarine and two white peaches. Don't bother peeling them - this is a rustic kind of dessert. Cut away whatever parts of the fruit may already be over the hill. You could use any combination of peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and so on.

Squeeze half a lemon (or more, depending on the amount of fruit; or else use a lime or perhaps an orange) over the fruit and pour in a glug or two of dark rum (you could use Armagnac, cognac, fruit liqueur, Prosecco or whatever else seems appropriate). The alcohol pulls out some interesting flavors in the fruit - last night my peaches tasted almost like the freshest, sweetest bananas you could imagine. You won't need any additional sugar because your fruit should be chockful of the natural stuff. Toss the fruit with the citrus juice and alcohol, then let it sit for a while. Only have 20 minutes? That's fine. Want to make it a few hours in advance? That's probably fine, too, although the fruit might darken a bit.

When it's time to serve, plop a dollop of sour cream on top. You could sweeten this cream with honey or sugar or maple syrup, but plain is a nice balance to the sweet fruit. You could use plain yogurt or some heavy cream or creme fraiche or... you get the picture. Serve a bowlful with a snappy cookie alongside, or maybe with your morning toast. Whenever, whatever - this is one easygoing and forgiving recipe.