Is Your Love Cast in Stone?

You don’t need to spend a fortune to make your special someone feel great.  That restaurant, that sunset cruise are all very nice and memorable but probaby rather expensive – so why not cook something for your loved one, because this will mean so much more.  With stone fruit in full season, preparing a delicious, romantic sweet treat at home is as easy as peaches, plums and nectarines.  Below are three easy, yet utterly delicious, desserts for you to try  They’re sure to enchant any heart this Valentine’s Day.

Plum and Almond Tart by Zola Nene 

Serves 6 – 8

For the plums:

6 ripe plums, halved
2 Tbsp. castor sugar
½ cup water

For the tart:
½ cup castor sugar
200g butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup self-raising flour
1 ½ cups ground almonds

For the vanilla Yoghurt (optional):
500g plain yoghurt
2 Tbsp. icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste

Method:
Preheat oven to 180C.
Place the plums, cut side up, into a roasting dish, then sprinkle with sugar and water.
Place into the oven and roast for 20 minutes until the plums are tender

Spray a 24cm loose bottom fluted tart tin.
In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs, a little at a time then mix in the flour.
Mix together the flour and almonds, then fold into the wet ingredients.
Transfer mixture into the tin then arrange the plums on top, cut side up.
Bake tart for 45 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.Remove from the oven.
Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove tart from the tin and leave to cool completely.
Mix together the yoghurt, icing sugar and vanilla then serve with the tart, dusted with icing sugar

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Honeyed Nectarine Filled Pancakes by Jenny Morris ©

Makes 8- 10
These make a delicious dessert or afternoon tea treat.

The Pancakes
Make the pancakes upfront, they warm well in microwave if want to serve them hot.
Makes 8 -10 thin pancakes

2 cups sifted flour
2 XL eggs
250 ml milk
125 ml Vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbls caster sugar
250 ml soda water or sparkling water

In the bowl of a food processor place all the ingredients except the soda water a d blend together well, now add the soda water and blend.
Rest the batter for 30 minutes before making the pancakes. Spray a frying pan with none stick cooking spray. Heat the pan to a medium high heat.
Ladle some batter into the pan and swirl to coat the base of the pan.

Cook for one minute each side and then place the cooked pancake onto a plate, continue till you have used up all the batter

The Honeyed Nectarine Filling:
10 large Nectarines
100 g butter
75g caster sugar
3 tbls honey
Pinch of salt
100 roughly chopped almonds
2 tablespoons of water if needed
250 g softened cream cheese
125 ml fresh cream
Stone and cut the nectarines into small blocks, set aside till needed.
In a large frying pan place the butter, sugar and honey, heat gently till sugar starts to melt, stir the nuts and whiskey and cook stirring for 2 minutes, add the nectarines and stir to coat with the sugar mixture, add a little water if needed, simmer for 4 minutes, remove from the heat.
Lay the pancakes out onto a flat surface.

Divide the Nectarine filling in half, reserving the remaining half to garnish the top of the pancakes with.
Stir the cream cheese and cream into half of the Nectarine mixture, divide it between the pancakes.
Place some filling down the centre of each pancake and roll into a cigar.
Place onto a serving plate, spoon over some of the cooked Nectarine mixture, dust with Icing sugar, garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and serve.
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Up – Side down Nectarine Cake by Jenny Morris ©

Serves 8 slices

Before you start making the cake line the base of a 23cm spring form cake tin with grease proof paper and spray the tin well with spray and cook..

Now set the oven to 170C and you are ready to start baking.

The Nectarines
4 nice plump firm but juicy nectarines
Butter at room temperature
4 tablespoons Brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Slice the nectarines and place them in a bowl, add the butter,brown sugar and cinnamon and toss together gently to coat well.
Now arrange the sliced nectarines in a decorative pattern on the base of your baking tin.

Continue to make the cake batter.

The Cake
2 cups flour sifted 3 times
2 tablespoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
125 ml orange juice
125 ml hot water
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest
250 ml cooking oil
6 eggs separated

First whip 6 egg whites to stiff peaks set aside and continue with the rest of the cake.
Now mix the orange juice and hot water together and pour it a large bowl, add the sugar and orange zest, stir together well, beat the egg yolks and add to the bowl followed by the oil. Give it a good stir.
Place the flour, baking powder and salt into a seperate bowl, stir to combine.

Mix together the flour and egg mixture and then stir in a few spoons of the egg white, and once that is mixed in GENTLY fold in the remaining egg white, pour the cake batter evenly over the nectarines in the cake tin and bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before running a knife around the rim of the tin and releasing it. Invert onto your serving plate nectarines facing upwards of course.

Serve warm or cold on its own or better still with great dollops of thick creamy Greek yogurt or delicious spoonfuls of mascarpone cheese and last it not least a few scoops of vanilla ice cream would also do the trick.

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For more inspiration visit www.juicydelicious.co.za