It’s been a heck of a week out here in the Hamptons with lots of dinner parties and fancy guests staying over at Big Bossman’s house. The abundance of fresh produce around me has been boosting my creativity but this dessert is one of the only thing i had the time to photograph in the midst of all the madness. The apricots, lemon verbena and blackberries were grown on the property and the ricotta used in the ice cream was homemade as well. It doesn’t get much more local than that.
I just wish i could have a quiet day to share the bounty with you but it hasn’t happened yet and it’s not happening anytime soon since my backup chef hasn’t reported to duty because of an injury. Don’t you worry for me though, i may be zen but i’m a warrior, which makes me a ninja.. err.. or something like that.
Not only fresh lemon verbena makes great infusions but it’s one of those magical ingredient that brings the best out of apricots and peaches. I’ve also made a batch of peach-verbena jam that looks promising but we’ll save that for later.
I feel like i’ve been neglecting this blog (and you’re damn right, i’m feeling guilty about it!) but i can’t wait to go back to a more regular posting schedule after labor day, when things quiet down a bit. We’re also working on some blog upgrades and new features so there’s a lot on the back burner. So stay tuned for more exciting adventures…
Lemon Verbena Poached Apricots with Fresh Ricotta Ice Cream & Blackberry syrup
- Serves 8
Lemon Verbena Poached Apricots:
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon verbena leaves
- 1 vanilla bean
- 12 apricots
Fresh Ricotta Ice Cream:
- 2 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- zest of 1 Meyer lemon
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons limoncello (optional)
Blackberry Syrup and Filo:
- 2 pints fresh blackberries
- 1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
- 1/2 lemon juice
- 4 sheets of filo dough
- powdered sugar
- Fresh verbena leaves for garnish
For the lemon verbena poached apricots:
- Combine the water, sugar and the vanilla bean (split) in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the lemon verbena leaves and reduce the heat. Let it infuse.
- Cut the apricots in half and discard the pits. Place the apricot halves in the lemon verbena syrup and poach them for 10 minutes over a very low heat. Remove from the pan from the heat and let it cool. Refrigerate the apricots in the lemon verbena syrup, preferably overnight.
For the ricotta ice cream:
- Place the fresh ricotta, sugar, Meyer lemon zest and the pinch of salt in a food processor and blend. Add the heavy cream and blend until smooth. Add the limoncello, if using. Refrigerate until completely chilled. Add the chopped pistachios.
- Place in the bowl of an ice cream maker and freeze. Reserve in the freezer until ready to use.
For the filo and blackberry syrup:
- Preheat the oven to 375′F
- Place a sheet of filo on a clean surface. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Fold in half. Brush with butter and sprinkle with powdered sugar again and fold in half. Repeat until you obtain a small rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half to obtain 2 squares about 2 by 2 inches. Place them on a baking pan lined with a silpat. Repeat with the remaining sheets of filo. Bake until golden brown and caramelized, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile place the blackberries, sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until they release their juice. Add the lemon juice. Adjust the sweetness if necessary and cool.
- Place a square of filo at the bottom of 8 plates. Top with scoops of fresh ricotta ice cream. Place 2 halves of the poached apricots on top of each and cover with another square of caramelized filo. Spoon some blackberries and syrup around and garnish with fresh verbena leaves.