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Fast and fresh fruit desserts. (Vegan Cooking Tips).

Okay, so we all know we're supposed to eat lots and lots of fruit. And fresh fruit can be delightful, flavorful, and fun. However, the people in authority have said, "No more grape fights." They even want you to can the orange smiles (you know, when you wedge a slice of orange into your mouth and smile, giving the appearance of bright orange pearly whites).

So, it's time to take a more sophisticated approach to fruit intake. Keep up with the juice combos and the fresh fruit snacks. Once in a while, though, indulge in a luscious fruit dessert.

Take advantage of seasonal fruit. If your favorite fruit is in season, eat it fresh, juice it, and then use it in a dessert. Here are some more ideas to get you started:

BAKING: Apples, pears, and bananas lend themselves to baking. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash a fresh apple or pear, and cut out the core. Rip off a piece of foil large enough to liberally wrap your fruit. Place the fruit in the middle of the foil. Dab a teaspoon of vegan margarine into the hollow core. Then, sprinkle liberally with ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, mace, or cardamom. Pour a small amount of maple syrup over this. Wrap loosely, as if making a packet. Place in the oven and bake. A medium apple or pear can take from 20-45 minutes, depending on your oven.

For bananas, peel and cut lengthwise. Place on a piece of foil. Use the same seasonings as for the apples or pears and wrap it up. You can also add some lemon or orange zest and vanilla or almond extract. Bananas will probably only take about 1 O-15 minutes to bake. If you bake them too long and wind up with banana mush, you can scoop it over sorbet or sliced apples!

BARBECUING: Apples, peaches, apricots, and berries can take advantage of your warm barbecue. Prepare fruit as described in the "Baking" section. Pit peaches and apricots, and treat this area as the "core." Place the wrapped fruit on a rack away from direct heat and allow to cook for 40 minutes.

If you'd like to serve fruit instead of a vegetable with your barbecue meal, slice fresh peaches, apricots, and bananas and place right on the grill. Allow the slices to sear slightly on both sides and serve hot.

FAST PIE: Everyone loves pie! No one likes spending hours making a pie. Here's a hint: soft fresh fruit + apricot jam = fast pie filling. Purchase or make a pie shell or individual tarts. You can also serve pie filling over cookies (We like gingersnaps!), cake, and sorbet. Here's the fast pie deal: wash, peel, and pit very ripe fresh peaches and apricots or fresh berries. Combine with just enough apricot jam to moisten. Cover and allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. You'll find you've got a great fresh pie filling, ready to go. Try combinations of peaches and apricots, peaches and blueberries, blueberries and strawberries, or blueberries and bananas.

HINT: If the apricot jam is too thick to easily mix with the ripe fruit, simply heat a small amount of jam on the stove. It will melt slightly and be easier to handle.

CHOCOLATE-COVERED: Strawberries, peaches, apricots, and dried fruit are easiest to coat with chocolate or carob. Wash and pat dry strawberries. Peel and slice peaches, apricots, and bananas. Cover a serving platter with foil. Place chocolate or carob chips in a large microwaveable bowl. Add about 1 teaspoon of cold water for every 1 cup of chips. Microwave for 1 minute on HIGH, and repeat until melted. Remove chips from microwave and stir.

Dip each piece of fruit about three-quarters of its length into the chocolate. Turn about three times while the fruit is immersed. Place fruit on the platter, being sure that the pieces of fruit do not touch. Repeat until all the fruit and chocolate is used. Place in the refrigerator uncovered for about 30 minutes before eating.

EXTRA

FRUIT SALSA: If you have extra fruit left from your dessert preparations, make a fruit salsa. Chop and combine apples, peaches, apricots, and berries. If you want a savory fruit salsa, add a small amount of chopped onion and cilantro. If you'd like a sweet fruit salsa, add chopped fresh mint and a little orange juice concentrate.
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Article Details
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Author:Berkoff, Nancy
Publication:Vegetarian Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2003
Words:732
Previous Article:Brown bagging it--vegan style.
Next Article:The Whole Foods Diabetic Cookbook.
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