Saffron and vanilla grilled fruit

Saffron and vanilla grilled fruit


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About this recipe: This warm medley of luscious fruit is elegantly spiced with a marinade of saffron and vanilla. It is delicious on its own for a virtually no-fat dessert, or can be topped with a fruity sorbet, vanilla frozen yogurt or ice cream.

Azmina Govindji

Serves: 6 

  • small pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp Marsala wine or sweet sherry
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 2 bananas
  • 100 g (3½ oz) black grapes
  • 1 papaya
  • 2 kiwi fruit
  • 1 Ugli fruit
  • To serve (optional)
  • 6 scoops frozen yogurt, reduced-fat ice cream or sorbet

Prep:1hr15min  ›  Cook:5min  ›  Ready in:1hr20min 

  1. Heat a small dry pan over a high heat, add the saffron threads and toast for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Place the toasted saffron in a mortar and crush it with a pestle until fine. Add 4 tbsp hot water to the saffron and stir.
  2. Transfer the saffron liquid to a mixing bowl and stir in the vanilla extract, honey, Marsala or sherry and orange juice.
  3. Add the fruit to the saffron and vanilla marinade as you prepare it. Peel the bananas and cut them into bite-sized chunks. Pick the grapes from their stalks and add them whole to the marinade. Peel the papaya, remove the seeds and cut into bite-sized chunks. Peel the kiwi fruit and quarter it lengthways. Peel the Ugli fruit, removing all the white pith, and cut out the segments from between the membranes. Stir the fruit in the marinade. If time permits, cover the bowl tightly with cling film and leave the fruit to marinate for 1 hour before cooking.
  4. Preheat the grill. Pour the fruit and marinade into a shallow ovenproof dish. Spread out the fruit in an even layer. Grill for 5 minutes or until all the fruit is heated through. Serve the fruit warm, topping each serving with a scoop of frozen yogurt, reduced-fat ice cream or sorbet, if you like.

Some more ideas

Make a tropical version of this dish by replacing the grapes with 2 thick slices of fresh pineapple, cut into chunks, and 3–4 fresh ripe apricots, halved and stoned. To make the marinade, omit the toasted saffron and hot water mixture and simply stir 1 tsp ground cinnamon with the vanilla extract and honey; use rum instead of Marsala or sherry, and the juice of 2 limes instead of orange juice. * Stone fruit, such as peaches, apricots and cherries, can be added to this warm fruit salad.

Plus points

Long cooking will destroy a lot of the vitamin C in fruit, but most will survive the short cooking time in this recipe. Fibre and minerals are not affected by heat. The bananas, kiwi fruit and citrus fruit here provide potassium, which keeps body fluids in balance and blood pressure down. * Papaya is a useful source of vitamin A (from the beta-carotene it contains), which is needed for good vision. This tropical fruit plays a vital role in preventing blindness in many parts of the world where those foods that provide most vitamin A in the UK (full-fat milk, cheese, butter and egg yolks) are not part of the average diet.

Each serving provides

Excellent source of vitamin C. Useful source of folate, potassium.

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