Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ice Cream + Reduced Balsamic = Elegant Simplicity

Ice cream jacked up with caramelized balsamic and fresh fruit takes this summer staple to a whole new level.

I learned this trick from the most fabulous houseguests over July 4th weekend.  They weren't actually my houseguests; they were invited to the family beach house by my sister, and, if I am to be totally honest, I wasn't thrilled that our existing group of 25 was to be expanded by 4 total strangers.  This view was rapidly revised when I met these fab folks, and I continue to eat my unuttered words as I relish the divinely simple dessert executed for our mob by Susie, the mom of the pack.

Now, anyone can scoop a bowl of ice cream and call it dessert.  And generally, it is received with joy and jubilation, particularly at this time of year.  But Susie took the ice cream dessert to a whole new level, and showcased the bounty of summer in the process.  I just might have a new best friend.

Susie's Symphony

2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 quart top quality vanilla ice cream
6 ripe peaches or nectarines, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
4 sprigs fresh mint cut into a fine mince
8 cookies of your choice--Susie used packaged almond thins, but any good quality butter/wafer cookie would be fine.

In saucepan, boil vinegar over medium heat until it reduces to a thick, gooey syrup, approximately 20 minutes.
Scoop vanilla ice cream into individual bowls.  Garnish with a generous serving of peaches.  Drizzle a scant teaspoon of balsamic syrup onto each scoop of ice cream, sprinkle with mint and garnish with a cookie.

Your guests just may break out in song over this, I nearly did.

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