Recipe: Essential Roasted Fruit

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Photo by House of Sims/Flickr CC


This method works for many kinds of fruit including plums, apricots, peaches, pears, nectarines, apples, pineapples and mangos. Extremely soft, skinless fruits like bananas, figs or strawberries need no water at all. You can combine roasted fruits with a fruit sauce or filling, or serving with vanilla ice cream.

4 servings

    • 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar, honey or maple syrup
    • 1/2 vanilla bean (optional)
    • Flavorings, such as ground spices or herbs
    • 1 1/2 pounds fruit, peeled, pitted and halved or sliced (no more than 3/4-inch thick) as appropriate such as pears, fresh peaches, apricots, nectarines, apples, pineapple, strawberries, mangoes, or bananas
    • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375. If using the sugar, place it in a small bowl. With a thin sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise in half. Scrape out the seeds and stir them into the sugar along with any flavorings you wish. If using honey or maple syrup, combine it with the water, and vanilla seeds. Cut the vanilla pod into 2-inch pieces.

Arrange the fruit in a large baking dish, cut-side-up if halved. Drizzle the lemon juice evenly over the fruit, then drizzle the vanilla sugar or sweetener over. Nestle the vanilla pod among the fruit. If using sugar, add the water to pan. If desired, cut the butter into small pieces and distribute over the fruit.

Bake the fruit, brushing it occasionally with the pan juices, until it is tender and glazed and the juices in the pan are thick and syrupy. If the syrup evaporates too quickly, add a tablespoon or two more water to the pan. If the fruit is halved, turn halfway through the cooking time. Softer fruits such as plums, apricots, or peaches will take about 20 to 25 minutes. Harder fruits such as pears and apples will take about 40 minutes.

The fruit can be prepared up to 4 hours ahead. Before serving, warm in a moderate oven.

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Sally Schneider writes The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog about improvising as a daily practice. Her cookbook The Improvisational Cook is now out in paperback. More

Sally Schneider is the founder of The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog that inspires you to devise, invent, create, make it up as you go along, from design and cooking to cultivating the creative spirit. It's been called a "zeitgeist-perfect website." She is a regular contributor to public radio's The Splendid Table and the author of the best-selling cookbooks The Improvisational Cook and A New Way to Cook, which was recently named one of the best books of the decade by The Guardian. She has won numerous awards, including four James Beard awards, for her books and magazine writing.

Sally has worked as a journalist, editor, stylist, lecturer, restaurant chef, teacher, and small-space consultant, and once wrangled 600 live snails for the photographer Irving Penn. Her varied work has been the laboratory for the themes she writes and lectures about: improvising as an essential operating principle; cultivating resourcefulness and your inner artist; design, style, and food; and anything that is cost-effective, resourceful, and outside the box.
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