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Caramelized peaches and sweet ricotta

Use fresh or frozen peaches to make this delectable dessert. © istockphoto.com/Marie Fields Use fresh or frozen peaches to make this delectable dessert. © istockphoto.com/Marie Fields
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Preparation time: 30 minutes or less

Servings: 6.

5 A Day servings: 1 1/3.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsps. mild honey
8 medium-sized ripe peaches, peeled and sliced, or 6 cups frozen, non-sweetened peach slices
½ cup granulated sugar
1 orange, juice and grated peel
1 ½ tbsps. unsalted butter
2 tbsps. grated gingerroot
2 tbsps. orange-flavored brandy, optional*
fresh mint leaves, as garnish

1. Place ricotta cheese in food processor and blend until completely smooth. Remove and stir in vanilla extract and honey. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (This can be done ahead – the ricotta cheese will become more honey-flavored.)

2. When ready to serve, prepare and premeasure all ingredients and have assembled by skillet. This dish will cook quickly. Organize dessert bowls or plates. Mound equal amount of sweetened ricotta cheese on each plate.

3. Heat a 10-inch skillet over MEDIUM-HIGH heat on the range top. Sprinkle sugar into dry, hot skillet. Shake pan to distribute sugar evenly on surface of skillet. Lower heat to MEDIUM and allow sugar to melt and turn caramel-colored (about 10 to 12 minutes). Do not rush this process or the sugar will burn and scorch. When sugar is mostly liquid and golden brown, remove pan from heat. Carefully add, all at once, the orange juice, peel, butter, and ginger. Cook and stir until sugar is mostly dissolved. Add peach slices, return pan to heat, and continue cooking and gently stirring until peaches are barely done and a rich, flavorful sauce has been created. Add brandy, if desired, and cook for about 1 minute.

4. Spoon equal amounts of peaches and sauce over the mounds of cheese and decorate each with a fresh mint leaf or sprig of mint. Serve immediately.

Chef's Notes: The best hot dessert sauces truly begin with the caramelization of sugar. The rich flavor of the caramel infuses through the butter and fruit flavors to produce an exquisite taste. Although we have used a modest amount of butter, increased amounts are often used. This same sauce can be produced to serve over fresh strawberries, bananas, apples, nectarines, mixed berries, etc.

*Optional ingredients are not included in the dietary analysis.

Nutritional Information per Serving
Calories: 450
Carbohydrates: 79g
Total Fat: 13g
Cholesterol: 45mg
Saturated Fat: 8g
Dietary Fiber: 6g
% of Calories from Fat: 32%
Sodium: 115mg
Protein: 13g  

Credit: Recipe developed for Produce for Better Health Foundation by Chef Carmen I Jones, CCP

Source:  www.5aday.org

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