I once worked with a great producer who told me about her theory of the Dairy Buffer. It's pretty simple, as far as theories go: any food is improved by adding dairy to it. For example, a burger is delicious, but a cheeseburger is a real treat. Pie is good, but pie a la mode is better. Baked potatoes are nothing without sour cream, tortilla chips are pointless without cheese, and whipped cream can do no wrong. Peas? Parkerhouse rolls? Polenta? Butter, butter, and more butter.
The Dairy Buffer theory isn’t fool proof; so far, I haven’t found the right dairy partner for sushi and spring rolls. But for the most part, it’s pretty spot on. And the type of dairy doesn't matter. Cheese, butter, sour cream, yogurt, creme fraiche, the Dairy Buffer does not discriminate.
I was thinking about the Dairy Buffer, while contemplating these gorgeous late-summer apricots that were starting to get a little wrinkly in the fridge. I wanted to turn them into some fabulous dessert, but pies and cakes and tarts all seemed too fussy. And they’re so yummy on their own, all they needed was a little something….dairy! Yes! I didn’t have any ice cream or whipping cream on hand and for once, butter wasn’t gonna cut it. But I did have some fresh goat cheese.
Fresh goat cheese isn't as...um, goat-y as aged goat cheese. It's actually pretty mild, with a slight tang. Whipped with some honey, it was an interesting counterpoint to the apricots. Naturally, by "interesting", I mean "damn good." I roasted the apricots, to concentrate their sweet apricot-ness and also to combat my frustrating stone-fruit allergy. If you’re not a fan of the goat, then sub mascarpone or ricotta. It'll definitely be good - the Dairy Buffer says so.
Roasted Apricots with Honeyed Goat Cheese
1 lb. fresh apricots
3 Tbsp. crème de cassis
6 oz. fresh goat cheese
2 Tbsp. honey
Raspberries for garnish (highly optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Coat an 8”x8” baking dish with cooking spray. Halve the apricots and remove pits. Toss the apricots with the crème de cassis and lay them, cavity side up, in the baking dish. Roast for 30 minutes, until they get a little shriveled and wrinkly and seem brighter in color. The crème de cassis will get sticky and concentrated.
2. While the apricots roast, whip together the goat cheese and the honey.
3. Serve with a mini-dollop of goat cheese in each apricot. Garnish with raspberries and drizzle with the concentrated crème de cassis.