Award-winning food educator and cookbook author Jennifer McGruther’s The Nourished Kitchen not only teaches how to prepare wholesome, nourishing foods, but also encourages a mindful approach cooking and a celebration of old-world culinary traditions. But don’t think that means these highly nutritious recipes are for dieters: roasted peaches with basil and yogurt are a naturally satisfying dessert.
Peaches and basil form an unlikely alliance, yet the vibrant licorice-like notes of basil make a beautiful match for peaches’ soft, sweet floral undertones. Roasting heightens the peaches’ sweetness, as their juices combine with honey and butter to form a fine syrup that blends perfectly into creamy, thick yogurt cheese. It’s an example of the beautiful balance of nature that, at the height of summer, both peaches and basil arrive in abundance, their flavors at their peak.
- 4 cups plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon unrefined sea salt, finely ground
- 1 vanilla bean
- 6 peaches, halved and pitted
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
For the yogurt cheese:
- Line a large fine-mesh sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth or a single layer of butter muslin and set it over a large mixing bowl.
- Pour the yogurt into the sieve, cover it loosely with the overhanging cheesecloth, and let it sit for 8 to 24 hours or until thickened to your liking.
- Don’t worry about leaving your yogurt on the counter overnight at room temperature; the beneficial bacteria and the acidic nature of yogurt will prevent it from going bad during straining. However, if you prefer, you can move the bowl, yogurt, and strainer to the refrigerator.
- Spoon the strained yogurt cheese into a jar, cover and put it in the fridge where it should keep for up to a month or so. The recipe makes about 2 cups.
- Pour the whey into a separate jar and store it in the back of the refrigerator for up to 6 months, where the colder temperature helps to preserve the bacteria and it remains out of the way.
For the roasted peaches with basil and yogurt:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and honey with a wooden spoon until well combined.
- Add the salt.
- Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape its seeds into the bowl.
- Continue beating the mixture until smooth and uniform.
- Spoon the honeyed butter into the peaches’ cavities, dividing it evenly.
- Place the peaches cavity side up in a single layer in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish or roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes, until tender and fragrant.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peaches to waiting bowls, top with yogurt cheese and the basil, and serve.
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