Can I let you in on a little secret for dessert that the ancient Aztecs and modern-day diabetics have known for ages but that I've been oblivious to until now?
Blue agave nectar. It's syrup made from juice extracted, filtered and heated from the core of the agave plant (also used to make tequila). While refined sweeteners such as sugar and honey have a high glycemic index and result in an uncomfortable "sugar rush," agave nectar has a low glycemic index and has fewer calories than refined sweeteners.
My favorite yoga instructor started raving to me about the health benefits of agave nectar ages ago, but I hadn't had the chance to work it into a recipe until this morning. Usually for stone fruit salad, I would make a reduction of rum or brandy to drizzle over the fresh fruits, but today I opted for a healthier route.
Agave nectar comes in light, dark and amber varieties. In desserts such as this one it's best to use light agave nectar. The sweetness of the nectar is intensely concentrated, so even a small dollop goes a long way. (When baking, substitute 1/3 cup of agave nectar for 1 cup of sugar.)
- 1 ounce (1/8 cup) blue agave nectar
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
- variety of smooth-skinned stone fruits (1 plum, 1 nectarine, 12 cherries)
- Toast walnuts.
- Mix blue agave nectar, ground cloves and cinnamon in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 15 seconds.
- Remove the pit from the plum, nectarine and cherries. Slice plum and nectarine into thin semi-circles. Slice the cherries in half.
- Plate the fruit with the toasted walnuts. Drizzle the blue agave nectar and spice mixture over the fruit and walnuts.
Servings: 2, Prep time: 10 minutes, Calories per Serving: 209, Pair with: Muscat
Copyright Sweet & Victuals 2008. This article and photograph is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.