The lovely Italian food blog, Uova, Zucchero e Farina (Eggs, Sugar and Flour), recently inspired me to make Almond Cream with Tropical Fruit. On her blog, Zia Elle calls her dessert Crema di Pesche al Cointreau (Peach Cream with Cointreau). I changed the ingredients and the name slightly, as Russ, my chief taster, is lactose-intolerant. Homemade almond milk, instead of dairy milk, made a cool, refreshing dessert to enjoy on a hot August day.
Zia Elle has lots of other enticing recipes, influenced by her Italian home. The blog translates into English and many other languages.
Almond Cream with Tropical Fruit
1 1/4 cups (300 ml.) almond milk*
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon organic sugar
1/4 teaspoon each vanilla and almond extract
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1 cup (230 ml.) fresh or canned fruit of your choice (don’t use fresh pineapple)
mint leaves for garnish
Slice fruit and allow to macerate in Grand Marnier while you make almond cream. I used two small, home grown bananas, a small home grown papaya, and a pineapple we bought from a truck going through town. I regretted using pineapple, as I forgot its enzymes thin cornstarch mixtures. The dessert was still very wonderful and refreshing.
In a small saucepan, stir together cornstarch and sugar. Gradually add almond milk (or dairy milk), stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Bring to a simmer, and stir until thickened, then cook on a low simmer a few minutes more.
Remove from heat and add almond extract, vanilla and Grand Marnier or liqueur of your choice. Stir to release most of the heat and cool to room temperature.
Spoon 1/4 of fruit into two glasses or small dishes. Divide Almond Cream between the two glasses. Chill in refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight. To serve, top with remaining fruit, almond slices and mint leaf.
*Almond milk is easy to make. Soak one cup of whole almonds overnight. The next day, drain them, discard the water, and combine the softened nuts with three cups of cold water in a blender and process until very smooth. Strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth. (Save pulp for muffins or cereal.) Refrigerate almond milk and use in place of diary milk. Makes three cups almond milk.
Russ, my loyal taster, did not comment on the thin almond cream as he spooned it up. I follow Julia Child’s dictum: if a recipe does not turn out as you hoped, don’t tell anyone. Usually, they will never know the difference and will instead complement your cooking.