Lemon Verbena Poached Apricots with Fresh Ricotta Ice Cream & Blackberry syrup

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
    • butter
    • 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.
    • To assemble:
    • 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.
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  • http://staceysnacksonline.com Stacey Snacks

    You have been a busy worker bee this summer!
    The dessert is beautiful, as always. Sorry we missed you this weekend in The Hamptons.

  • http://www.my-easy-cooking.com nina

    Ay Zen, only you can make my salivate at 5 in th emorning, not for my first coffee, but for dessert!! Love the verbena peaches.

  • http://www.ceramiccanvas.com Reginald@CeramicCanvas

    What a wonderful dessert.

    Great use of bright summer

    flavors. And the dish

    really comes alive through

    your photography.


  • http://kitchen-em.blogspot.com Kitchen M

    Perfect dessert for the summer! Yum!

  • http://breadetbutter.wordpress.com/ Su-yin

    Ricotta ice cream?! 😀 I adore ricotta, but this is the first time I’m seeing it being used in ice cream. It seems only fitting that it’s you that has introduced me to it! It looks great, especially when paired with the apricots and blackberry sauce.

  • http://nycshare.blogspot.com/ City Share

    Wow, that looks amazing. I love peaches with fresh ricotta, so I can only imagine how good this would be. Thanks for the recipes.

  • http://mochachocolatarita.blogspot.com mochachocolatarita

    very summery dessert…unlike my boring banana chocolate heheheh

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella

    Zen, this is beautiful! It looks like it belongs on the menu of the finest restaurant! 😀

  • http://wwwbunnysovencom.blogspot.com/ Cyndy

    Your imagination is incredible, once again something deliciously satisfying.

  • http://sticksforksfingers.blogspotcom Pam @ Sticks Forks Fingers

    Yes, you are a ninja warrior!!! This is a beautifully plated dessert that I would pay top bucks for. Love the ricotta ice cream idea, and my lemon verbena bush is exploding… this give me good ideas for putting it to good use. Very very lovely. Don’t worry about the neglected blog… We’ll wait for you!

  • http://www.flowfit.ca/blog Lisa

    Beautiful! Both for the eyes and mouth.

  • http://www.ouichefnetwork.com Oui, Chef

    Given your crazy schedule, I am surprised you have the time to post at all, let alone deliver such a fabulous looking dish. The ricotta ice cream sounds like the perfect foil for almost any kind of poached fruit. – S

  • http://mytastyhandbook.com Adelina

    I can’t believe you’re not sharing all your creations :( I think you need an assistant just to be with you for times that get tough. I am sure someone who lives in your area would love to be your apprentice for free of charge. This is beautiful! Thanks for sharing whatever you can.

  • http://mytastyhandbook.com Adelina

    Also, I also added your site to my favorite blog list on my homepage.

  • http://www.mattikaarts.com/blog matt

    wow. Just fantastic dude. Total star dessert. The colors and textures just look fantastic. If they ever invent taste-o-vision, your blog is my first stop

  • http://wwwthepenandthepear.blogspot.com/2010/03/pb-trifle-americas-best-loved-sandwich.html Debbie

    very artistic presentation!
    this picture takes the cake!
    congrats on top 9!

  • http://itsnotyouitsbrie.com It’s Not You, it’s Brie

    Do you ever use Salvatore Brklyn Ricotta, do you stick with another favorite or make your own?

  • Anonymous

    Never tried salvatore Brklyn Ricotta but now i will! :) I made my own for this.

  • http://www.tomatokumato.com Emiglia

    What gorgeous gorgeous pictures!

  • Jessica Mattler

    I have just found your blog and it is so, so beautiful. The images, the food, the global element to your gastronomic blog. I will definitely be following you for a long time, and making this particular recipe very soon.