A Tray Of Roasted Fruit

This is scarcely a recipe; probably not worth even publishing, but I’m going to do it anyway.

I’m expanding on my current pash for trying to bring the taste of summer in bleakest January in an upcoming Culinary Chatter post – the art of cooking fruit. Fresh fruit, in season and ripe is unrivalled and fabulous, but I just think we may as well make those air miles and foreign grower’s work worthwhile by zhuzhing up the out-of-season imported produce on much of our supermarket shelves this time of year.

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Maybe a 'bowl of roasted fruit hidden under fromage frais' was more appropiate...greed overtook common sense here.
Maybe a ‘bowl of roasted fruit hidden under fromage frais’ was more appropiate…greed overtook common sense here.

Roasted vegetables are one of the simplest and most delicious side dishes (or as a meal on their own) and some veg tastes far better roasted than raw – bell peppers and tomatoes are a great example, whilst squashes suit roasting far better than steaming or boiling to truly bring out their candied nutty sweetness. So I thought, why not apply the same concept to fruit – like a hot fruit salad, if you will.

Plus, for people who think I publish way too many cake recipes, this is a dessert or breakfast naturally low in refined sugars and fat (you will need a light coating of oil to help them roast rather than bake though) for all of you on the ‘New year, new me’ kick. Roasting probably counts as ‘processed’ so probably not for the hardcore clean eaters. Good. I don’t want to please Avansino in any way.

I have not given a specific weight of fruit here, as it depends on how big your roasting implement is. I am going to be bossy about this – just make sure you avoid the glass dish and use a metal baking tray with low sides to conduct heat sufficiently and allow steam to escape. Just look at the size of your tray and make sure you don’t over crowd it. Also you need a hot oven. 200 degrees C at least. Anything lower is baking.

An earlier attempt at this, made from just two small Sainsbury's basics apples and two hard foreign plums. The frosty topping is Splenda. Perhaps a better illustration than the others..
An earlier attempt at this, made from just two small Sainsbury’s basics apples and two hard foreign plums. The frosty topping is Splenda. Perhaps a better illustration than the others..

Feel free to season the fruit as your heart desires, I use that old favourite cinnamon plus some black pepper – nutmeg would be good, or even, for those of a more deviant persuasion, smoked sea salt. You can sugar it if you wish, but I see no need as the roasting will concentrate the natural sugars within and plus I like any residual tartness.

Finally, sorry about the dreadful photos, I’d already loaded the fruit into a bowl and dumped fromage frais on top  before I realised I needed to photograph it for the blog, ideally of the tray, as the title suggests. Oh well. You can see the selection of fruits I used and how they look after the blast in the oven. I had the entire trayful to myself (it’s fruit, the fromage frais was fat free and they were only sweetened with a sprinkle of Splenda, so I think I was allowed), but would easily stretch to two as a light simple dessert or as a good, healthy yet hearty breakfast.

 

Roasted Fruit

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Serves 1 greedy person as a reasonably guilt-free dessert or breakfast, or 2 more restrained eaters.

A selection of fruit, the less ripe the better as it’ll hold its shape – I use a mixture of apples, bananas, nectarines and plums as well as some hulled strawberries. You will want enough to cover the tray without crowding it.

1 tbsp oil

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Shake black pepper (optional)

Fat free fromage frais, to serve with (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (fan)/220C.
  2. Chop fruit into fairly even pieces, for denser fruit e.g apples and bananas, cut smaller than juicier ones such as stone fruit which can take just being halved, and strawberries are best left whole, halved if they’re really big. If you’re using aforementioned stone fruit, and they’re really unyielding, leave stones in. This will help them keep their shape too.
  3. Place on baking tray and coat with the oil, smush the fruit together to ensure every piece has a thin sheen.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and pepper, if using.
  4. Roast for 10-15 minutes until browned well. Roast too long and more watery fruit will collapse into mush.
  5. Serve in bowls with a sprinkle of granulated sweetener/sugar and plain fat free yoghurt or fromage frais.
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