Here's how to make grilled peaches topped with mozzarella. Susan Selasky/Detroit Free Press Buy Photo I'm still seeing peaches at local farmers markets, and I'm taking advantage of this year's amazing crop. Today's Broiled Peaches with Whipped Ricotta Cream couldn't be simpler to prepare or more delicious. Peaches are […]
I'm still seeing peaches at local farmers markets, and I'm taking advantage of this year's amazing crop. Today's Broiled Peaches with Whipped Ricotta Cream couldn't be simpler to prepare or more delicious.
Peaches are a member of the rose family and are typically classified as clingstone or freestone. As the names imply, clingstone peach flesh clings to the pit, while the flesh of freestone peaches is easily removed from the pit. Freestone peaches are perfect for making our broiled peaches. Just slice it all the way around the middle of the peach and pull each half right off the pit.
With about 80 calories per large peach, this fruit provides a handful of nutrients including vitamin C, beta carotene and potassium. Vitamin C, known for supporting a healthy immune system, also is vital for healing wounds. Beta carotene is essential for eye health and promotes good night vision. According to the American Heart Association, potassium is important in controlling blood pressure because it appears to blunt the effects of excess sodium in the diet.
For the best flavor, buy peaches that are ripe or nearly ripe. They should give a little when gently pressed and have a slightly sweet, peachy scent. Avoid those with bruises, soft spots or green undertones, which indicate the peach was picked too soon. Store unripe peaches at room temperature until they are soft to the touch. Ripe peaches should be refrigerated and eaten within a week.
For a deceivingly decedent dessert, we topped our broiled peaches with a ricotta cream. Ricotta cheese is similar to a fine-textured cottage cheese but has a slightly sweet flavor. When beaten, it becomes smooth and somewhat silky. We added a little reduced-fat cream cheese to boost the creaminess.
Ricotta comes in whole milk, part-skim, low-fat (light) and fat-free forms. Though whole-milk ricotta is the creamiest, it contains the most artery-clogging saturated fat. Low-fat and fat-free versions have little or no saturated fat, but lack flavor and have a crumbly, almost gritty texture. We opted for part-skim ricotta which had a good, creamy texture, yet kept our saturated fat content in check.
Keep ricotta tightly covered in the refrigerator in its original container. It should be good for about one week. To help keep out air and keep the cheese fresh, store the tightly sealed container upside down.
Darlene Zimmerman is a registered dietitian in Henry Ford Hospital's Heart & Vascular
Institute. For questions about today's recipe, call 313-972-1920.
Broiled Peaches with Whipped Ricotta Cream
6 tablespoons part-skim ricotta cheese
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) reduced-fat cream cheese
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
4 medium peaches
4 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon snipped fresh mint (optional garnish)
In a bowl with an electric mixer, whip together ricotta cheese, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth; about 2 to 3 minutes. Set oven to broil, leaving rack in middle position. Cut each peach in half, separate and remove pit. Place peach halves, flesh side up, on baking sheet and sprinkle each half with ½ teaspoon brown sugar. Place in oven for 5 minutes or until surface begins to brown slightly and peach begins to soften. Remove from oven and allow to cool. To serve, top each peach half with 1 tablespoon cream topping and garnish with fresh mint if desired.
Created by Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD for Heart Smart and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
151 calories (24% from fat), 4 grams fat (2 grams sat. fat, 0 grams trans fat), 27 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 54 mg sodium, 12 mg cholesterol, 76 mg calcium, 0 grams fiber. Food exchanges: 1 ½ fruit, 1 fat.