Grilled Apricots with Fresh Raspberries & Mascarpone Cheese with Salted Butter Cookies

I'm learning to say what I want in life.  I'm learning that true, humble confidence is incredibly beautiful & attractive.  I'm learning to step out of fear & embrace life, even if I fail.  Jesus has been inviting me to eat at his Table everyday, in order that I would know more of myself & Him. 

Birthdays are a big deal to me.  I had some disappointing ones growing up, where I didn't get a "happy birthday" from family members until the day was almost over.  When I feel like someone should be the person to congratulate, seek me out, or know what I'm thinking (such a girl thing) and they fail...I shut down.  I've been known to sit in that puddle of a pity party; rather, than say what I want & need.

 

Insert my vision...I dreamed of having a birthday party where everyone who I love & loves me over my life comes to celebrate me.  They surprise me & I'm not expecting it.  My kids are grown & they honor me for the love & life I've given to them.  It's about me.  Okay, I know I'm not the only person who has this--right?! It's not a proud "celebrate me" sort of party, but simply to affirm this life & celebrate it with all the people I love.  It's a bit of heaven coming to earth. 

This year, I told Ben what I wanted most was to cook a meal & bless my friends.  To celebrate the year that I've been graciously given & the upcoming one.  I was ready to be forward & say exactly what I wanted.    There wouldn't be any Kamille pity parties...just one party with friends I love and food that was spectacular.  Here was our menu:

  • Cheese & cracker platter
  • Spicy greens with fresh figs, salty prosciutto, walnuts, goat cheese, shaved fennel & shallot vinaigrette (Pinot Gris)
  • Brine then Grilled & Smoked Pork Loin of Roast with reduced bing cherry sauce (Red Wine blend)
  • Grilled Apricots with Fresh Raspberries a top freshly whipped cream & mascarpone cheese with a Salted Butter Cookie (moscato d'asti wine)

Pulling from the best of the season's bounty.  I knocked dessert out of the park.  The freshly whipped cream (no sugar added) & mascarpone cheese when paired with the grilled apricots & raspberries did something altogether magical in my mouth.  My taste buds were singing praises & one could not help but moan "Oh.My.Goodness!"  I reduced some apricot balsamic vinegar & drizzled it on top as well.  This dessert pulled out all the punches with the creaminess of the cheese, the sweet & tang from the fruit, the bit of subtle acid from the apricot & vinegar & the salty from the cookie--heaven in one bite.

 

Grilled Apricots

Grilled Apricots & Fresh Raspberries a top Whipped Cream & Mascarpone Cheese with Reduced Apricot Balsamic Vinegar (recipe here)

I realize that not everyone has Apricot balsamic vinegar lying around.  I happened to have a bottle from a local vinegar & olive oil shop.  However, a light drizzle of raw honey would be divine!  By grilling the apricots, you are pulling out the sweet juices.

Dessert Ingredients:

  • 1-2 pounds fresh apricots, about 10-12
  • 1 cup of raspberries
  • 8 ounce container of mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup apricot balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Reduction can be done hours ahead or day before: Pour your apricot balsamic vinegar into a small pot & gently reduce over low heat.  You don't really need to do any stirring, just keep an eye on it.  It will take about 15-25 minutes (sorry such a large range).  The vinegar will become darker close to an amber color & coat a spoon like agave nectar (not honey coating though).  Remove from heat & allow to cool.  Transfer to a container.

Chill your bowl & beater for about 10 minutes in freezer.  Take your chilled HWC & pour it into chilled bowl.  Whip on high speed & should become billowy after about 30-45 seconds (if using kitchen aid).  You are looking for medium peaks. Set aside.

Slice the apricots in half & remove the pit.  Over medium-low heat on a grill, place your apricots face down & cover the grill.  Checking on them after 1 minute to ensure they are not getting burnt.  You will want them to grill for about 3 minutes (when they have those lovely grill marks).  Put them on a platter.

Take your serving bowl & add two tablespoons of whipped cream & mascarpone cheese.  Place two grilled apricots on top.  Sprinkle 3-4 fresh raspberries.  Drizzle very lightly with reduced apricot balsamic vinegar (or raw honey).  Serve with a butter cookie (recipe below) if you'd like. 

Salted Butter Cookie:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, pastured
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tb vanilla
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • vanilla salt or fleur de sel for sprinkling

Directions:

Add almond flour, salt, & butter into a food processor.  Blend for 15 seconds, or until butter is cut into the flour.  Add the vanilla & honey and blend until the dough is thoroughly combined, another 25 seconds or so. 

Have a sheet of parchment paper ready.  Dump the dough on the parchment paper.  Roll the dough into a log.  It should be about an inch in diameter.  Roll the parchment around the dough until completely covered & seal the edges by twisting them.  Put in the freezer for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 minutes.  Put another sheet of parchment paper on a lined baking sheet.  Remove the dough from the freezer & unwrap from the parchment.  Slice the dough into 1/4 inch slices.  Put the slices on the parchment lined sheet.  Sprinkle with vanilla salt or fleur de sel.  Bake for 15 minutes or until a nice golden color, depending on if the dough is still frozen or if it's slightly thawed.  If thawed, it will be less time.  If frozen, more time.  Cool on sheet & serve.