Growing up, my backyard had one fruit-bearing tree that by mid June dripped with juicy maroon bulbs. I still don’t know if they were small plums or really big cherries. But either way, the stone fruit from this tree stained everything, and we ate it until our stomachs hurt.
While I’ve long enjoyed the simplicity of eating big cherries (or small plums) off the stem, let’s fast forward to dessert, because stone fruit has one more exciting trick up its sleeve.
Old Ingredient: Stone Fruit
Stone fruit has always been my external alarm clock, reminding me to slow down and relax, because days of drippy fruit and warm weather don’t last forever. When those bulbs burst onto the scene, it was Mother Nature’s way of telling me, “Kid, put down the mandatory reading. Let’s do this summer thing.”
So, let's do summer all the way — ice cream sandwiches, stone fruit style.
New Trick: Ice Cream Sandwiches
Whether you need to cut out gluten or wheat, want to ditch cookies altogether, or need another excuse to buy more peaches, a slice of stone fruit makes an awesome stand-in for the cookies in an ice cream sandwich.
The recipe is simple. Start with apricots, peaches, or nectarines that are just ripe — you don’t want them too hard nor too soft, but to have a nice bite to them. Make sure you have ice cream in the freezer — I use tiny, single-serving containers of ice cream in multiple flavors because it’s plain adorable, but use what you’ve got.
Then, cut off the round edge on one side of the fruit and, starting at that end, slice flat rounds, about 1/2-inch thick, until you reach the pit. Get out that pit if you can and continue slicing until you’ve made as many flat rounds (or fruit “cookies”) as possible. (Warning: you may only get 2 round slices or you might get 6 depending on the size of your fruit and your de-pitting skills. So make sure you buy enough fruit to make enough "cookies" for you and your guests and chop up the remainder for another use.)
Lay out your fruit slices, scoop the ice cream right on top, and eat immediately, open-face style. If you’re serving guests, offer fun toppings like chocolate sprinkles, toasted coconut flakes, or magic shell chocolate sauce.
If you want to use up the round ends, I suggest putting one end in a small cup to hold it in place before topping with ice cream. And if you want try for a two-sided fruit sandwich, just have a napkin handy — the ice cream will shoot out the side, but that’s nothing a spoon and a finger swipe can’t handle.
Old Ingredients, New Tricks
As someone who constantly makes over dishes for dietary and health needs, I'm used to using total creative license when it comes to food. And the good news is we already live in a culinary world where zucchinis can be noodles, beets can be chips, and cucumbers can act like baguettes. So let me be your guide as we dust off some standard items from the produce aisle and give them a chance to show off a little. It’s an exercise in recipe liberation (not limitations) that will not only lighten up those eating habits but also give new life to old favorites.
So whether you’re trying to ditch the gluten, sugar, or just a pant size, let’s forget about pledging to take on a new diet. And let’s pledge instead to break some rules and teach a handful of old ingredients some new tricks.
(Image credits: Jessica Goldman Foung)