Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Health

Let fancied-up fruit be the after-dinner star

According to my grandmother, fruit is God's candy, making it the perfect ending to a meal. I agree with Grandma — fruit is a lovely, healthy way to end a meal. But I'll also confess that the dessert lover in me sometimes craves something a smidge fancier. And by fancier, I mean with chocolate.

Berries are the perfect dessert fruit because their flavor is concentrated and bold, and they are sweet and a tiny bit tangy. Berries are gorgeous and elegant, which is important when it comes to pulling off fruit as a true dessert.

Plus, berries are rich in antioxidants, high in fiber and low in calories. Raspberries, for instance, have only about 60 calories per cup. Despite their sweet taste, they pack only about 5 grams of sugar, but a whopping 8 grams of fiber. All of which means this dessert isn't just tasty, it's filling, too.

Perhaps the best benefit to making berries the star of dessert is that there's a little wiggle room to add a few bells and whistles. One of my favorite fruit dessert strategies is to whip up a simple syrup (just water and sugar heated until they come together in a thin syrup) with cool flavors. Think about adding interesting spices, such as cardamom with vanilla bean and black pepper, or herbs, such as mint. Then just drizzle your way to dessert magic.

Add a tablespoon of liqueur or wine to the syrup — think orange liqueur or Marsala — and the flavors really pop. A few drops of almond extract or even cocktail bitters are a great addition. Only a tiny bit of a flavorful syrup is needed, but be aware that you are adding a bit of worthwhile sugar. Just before serving, use a vegetable peeler to shave off a few shards of deep, almost bitter chocolate.

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