Summertime Sweets: Nectarine Thyme Crumble

One of the things I love most about late Summer is the oodles of fabulous ripe fruit. Specifically peaches, plums and, my personal favorite, nectarines! There’s just something about the smell of a perfectly ripe nectarine. If I hold it up to my nose, close my eyes and inhale, it’s intoxicating perfume just takes me back to childhood and happy Summer memories. One of my favorite ways to enjoy this fruity deliciousness is through recipes that really let the fresh ingredients shine. So, I’m super happy to share one of my favorite Summertime Sweets with you: Nectarine Thyme Crumble.


There’s just nothing like a crumble to showcase delicious Summer fruit! And thankfully, they couldn’t be easier to make. A crumble is simply a dessert consisting of cooked fruit topped with a crumbly mixture of butter, flour and sugar which is then baked in the oven until the topping is crisp and deliciously browned. The dish originated in Britain during World War II when the ingredients for pie pastry were scarce and it has remained popular to this day. A crumble is often served with ice cream, which begins to melt the minute it hits the warm dessert – sheer deliciousness! In addition to nectarines, a crumble can also be made with a variety of fruit such as apples, blackberries, peaches, rhubarb and plums. I especially like baking a crumble in a cast iron pan which gives it a deliciously rustic touch but you can always use a glass baking dish instead.


For maximum enjoyment, use the ripest nectarines you can get your hands on. Be sure to purchase an extra one to indulge in as you slice the fruit for the recipe – they are soooooo delicious! Whenever I make fruit desserts I really like to add a little liqueur to enhance the flavor and bump up the complexity. For this recipe, I add a little J Vineyards Pear Liqueur which beautifully enhances the flavor of the nectarines. If I’m using citrus, however, I’ll usually add some Grand Marnier, an orange-flavored liqueur made from a blend of Cognac brandy, distilled essence of bitter orange and sugar. Or, if I’m using raspberries and/or blackberries, I love to add some Chambord, a liqueur from the Loire Valley made from red and black raspberries, Madagascar vanilla, honey and cognac. By all means, feel free to experiment with different liqueurs you have on hand to discover combinations that makes your palate smile.


To pair with the Nectarine Thyme Crumble, I highly recommend a Moscato d’Asti from Italy’s Piedmont region. Since the dessert is not cloyingly sweet and allows the natural flavor of the fruit the shine through, this wine’s light sweetness and delicate flavors of peach, citrus and honey complement it nicely. These wines are also what the Italians call “frizzante,” or slightly sparkling. They are not quite as bubbly as Champagne, but have a subtle, frothy effervescence that adds a delightful texture to the wine as well as whatever it’s paired with. We especially like the Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’Asti and La Spinetta Moscato d’Asti “Biancospino” and “Bricco Quaglia“.


I hope you enjoy this Summertime Sweets recipe for Nectarine Thyme Crumble as much as we do! I’d also love to know, what are YOUR favorite Summer flavors and/or desserts that you enjoy this time of year? Please do tell in the Comments section below!

Bon appétit,



"Summertime Sweets: Nectarine Thyme Crumble"
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6
This recipe fits nicely in a 10" cast iron pan & pairs nicely with a Moscato d'Asti from Italy's Piedmont region.
  • 6 ripe nectarines, thinly sliced
  • 6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1½ Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 thyme sprigs, plus extra for garnish
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 4 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons wheat germ
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon pear brandy or other similarly flavored liqueur
  • Kosher salt
  1. ) In a large bowl, toss the sliced nectarines, granulated sugar, lemon juice, thyme sprigs and a pinch of Kosher salt. Let marinate for 1 hour.
  2. ) Preheat over to 375 degrees. In another bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, wheat germ and a pinch of Kosher salt. Work the softened butter into the mixture with your fingers until it has the consistency of sand. Spread the mixture out evenly on a baking sheet, making sure the clumps are of similar sizes so they cook evenly.
  3. ) Bake the streusel in the oven for approximately 10-15 minutes, stirring 1-2 times, until the mixture is lightly and evenly browned. Set aside to cool.
  4. ) Spoon the nectarine mixture, including the thyme and any accumulated juices, into a 10" cast iron pan. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until the fruit is softened and the juices are bubbling.
  5. ) Scatter the streusel on top of the nectarine mixture in the cast iron pan and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until browned and bubbly. Garnish with additional thyme sprigs and serve with generous scoops of vanilla ice cream.

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Summertime Sweets: Mango & Rose Water Sorbet!

Back to school sales, Halloween displays and the bittersweet conclusion of family beach vacations are all signs the end of Summer is near. And while I do love Fall, I inevitably dread bidding adieu to the delightful frozen, sweet treats that are a welcome antidote to the sweltering South Florida Summer days. So in an effort to savor the remainder of the season, for the rest of August I’ll be whipping... Read More

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Thanksgiving Deliciousness: Pumpkin Pie Trifle!

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey During this season of giving thanks, well for this week at least, I am thankful for pumpkin! From Starbucks’ infinitely sippable Pumpkin Spice Latte to Publix’s deliciously scoopable Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream,... Read More

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Thanksgiving Deliciousness: Pumpkin Pie Trifle!

Pumpkin Pie Trifle, Thanksgiving, Dessert

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

During this season of giving thanks, well for this week at least, I am thankful for pumpkin! From Starbucks’ infinitely sippable Pumpkin Spice Latte to Publix’s deliciously scoopable Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream, I adore all things pumpkin. Nothing embodies Fall quite like it.

Living in Florida where it’s basically Summer all year long only leaves a small window of opportunity to indulge my enduring penchant for pumpkin. So when Fall finally arrives, this recipe for Pumpkin Pie Trifle goes right to the top of my “To Do” list! This dish has actually replaced pumpkin pie at our Thanksgiving table, yes – you heard me – r e p l a c e d it! That’s how utterly delicious it is but before you start to question my sanity (we can get to that some other time), let me explain.

I’m a big fan of the trifle for a few reasons: (1) it allows you to combine a variety of your favorite flavors and textures in one dish, (2) it has a fabulous “wow” factor and looks beautiful on your holiday table, (3) it can be made the day before your meal and only improves overnight in the fridge as the flavors meld, and (4) it also travels remarkably well and makes an excellent choice if you have to bring dessert to a lucky friend or family member’s house.
Trifle, Dessert, Illustration

Historically speaking, the trifle originated in England in the 1500’s and evolved from a similar dessert known as a “fool” (which might explain why Steve likes it so much). Initially this dessert was made of thick cream flavored with rosewater, sugar and ginger. It wasn’t until decades later that eggs were added and a custard was poured over bread soaked in alcohol. While some people consider the inclusion of gelatin to be a recent variation, the earliest known recipe to include jelly dates from 1747, and the poet Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote of trifles containing jelly in 1861. Some trifles contain alcohol such as port, or, more commonly, sweet sherry or Madeira. Non-alcoholic versions may use sweet juices or soft drinks such as ginger ale, since some form of liquid is necessary to moisten the cake layers. Today, the ingredients are usually arranged in layers with fruit and bread or cake on the bottom, and custard and cream on top.

In order to display this dessert’s beautifully colorful layers, I recommend investing in a trifle bowl designed specifically for this purpose. Crate and Barrel’s Miranda Trifle Bowl ($29.95) is a great basic to add to your culinary repertoire but any tall glass bowl will work. Once you discover how easy trifles are to make and how delicious they can be I think you’ll be hooked!

To pair with the Pumpkin Pie Trifle, a Late Harvest Gewürztraminer or Ice Wine will work very nicely. I hope you enjoy this recipe and you and you family have a very delicious and Happy Thanksgiving!





Pumpkin Pie Trifle

2 (15-ounce) packages pumpkin bread mix
1 (4.6-ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
2 (15-ounce) cans pure pumpkin
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 (12-ounce) container whipped topping (such as Cool Whip)
1/2 cup gingersnaps, roughly chopped

Bake the pumpkin bread according to the package directions and cool completely (can be done the day before you assemble the trifle). Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool (can also be done a day in advance). Stir the canned pumpkin, brown sugar, and spices into the pudding. Cube 1 batch of the pumpkin bread and arrange in the bottom of a trifle bowl. Depending on the size of your bowl, you may have some leftover. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the pumpkin bread and smooth to make a relatively even layer. Then add a layer of whipped topping on top so from the outside of the bowl you can see two distinct layers. Repeat with the remaining pumpkin bread, pudding, and whipped topping. If preparing the day before, simply cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Once ready to serve, sprinkle the top with the chopped gingersnaps. Enjoy!

Fall Indulgence: Browned Butter & Bacon Ice Cream!

Many years ago I dated a guy who was obsessed with health. For him, every waking moment was focused on exercising and eating right and he eschewed any possible enjoyment in food. To him it was solely “fuel for the body” and while I tried to respect his regimented point of view, when he started judging people who ate bacon... Read More

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Fall Indulgence: Browned Butter & Bacon Ice Cream!

Browned Butter & Bacon Ice Cream

Many years ago I dated a guy who was obsessed with his health. Every waking moment was focused on exercising and eating right to the point of eschewing any iota of enjoyment in food, viewing it solely as “fuel for the body.” I tried to respect his regimented point of view but when he started judging people who ate bacon (myself included) because it had no redeeming nutritional value, I knew we were definitely doomed!

For me, food is about much more than “fuel for the body” and enjoying it is all about balance. The majority of the time we should eat healthy in the interest of taking care of our bodies and managing our weight, but there are also times to splurge in the interest of satisfying our souls. We can probably all name those special dishes we’re nostalgic for having enjoyed them in our youth when lovingly prepared by a parent or grandparent; or those we associate with our own or another beloved culture; or dishes discovered during personal travels which have brought us much joy. Depriving ourselves of food we love seems to inevitably lead to binging, so why not allow ourselves to indulge that craving every so often so it doesn’t spiral out of control?

Candied Bacon

This recipe for Browned Butter & Bacon Ice Cream is just such an indulgence, combining two of my favorite things, butter and bacon, into one delicious confection. Will I make this recipe more than once this season? In the interest of fitting into my clothes and maintaining my cholesterol level, probably not but if you’re in a “comfort food” kind of mood, it sure hits the spot and also makes an excellent dessert choice paired with last week’s Fall-inspired recipe for Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions.

After my boyfriend and I broke up one of the first questions I would ask any date was, “Do you eat bacon?” and now I’m happily married to a man who shares my porcine passion. To me, bacon and other cherished dishes are one of life’s great pleasures that definitely aren’t worth missing but in doing so, balance is key.





“Browned Butter & Bacon Ice Cream”

5 strips of good bacon
7 1/2 teaspoons of light brown sugar

Ice Cream
3 Tablespoons salted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 3/4 cups half-and-half, divided in half
5 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons dark rum
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the candied bacon: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay the strips of bacon on baking sheet lined with either aluminum foil or a Silpat.

Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons of light brown sugar evenly over each strip of bacon.

Bake for 12-16 minutes. Halfway through baking, turn the bacon strips over and dredge them through the syrupy dark molten sugar on the baking sheet. Continue to bake until the bacon is the color of rich mahogany. Remove bacon from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Once bacon is cooled and crisp, finely chop into little pieces.

For the ice cream: melt the butter in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat and cook until lightly browned, careful not to let it burn (if the butter burns, definitely start over). Stir in the brown sugar and half of the half-and-half and cook until the sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently. Keep the rest of the half-and-half in the refrigerator until ready to use.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and then gradually whisk in 1/4 cup of the warm brown sugar mixture, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes to prevent the eggs from cooking (a process known as “tempering”). Then pour the egg and brown sugar mixture back into the saucepan and cook on medium-low heat until the custard thickens enough to coat a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, stirring constantly. Once desired consistency is reached, stir in rum and vanilla extract.

Put remaining chilled half-and-half into a large bowl, place a sieve or strainer over it and strain the custard mixture into it to remove any bits of cooked egg (even if you don’t see them they’re there so don’t eliminate this step!). Chill the mixture for at last 5 hours and then pour into an ice cream mixture and churn according to your machine’s directions. Add the chopped bacon during the last moments or fold in after you’ve removed the mixture from the machine. Reserve a few pieces of the bacon for garnish if you wish.

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Summer Deliciousness: Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo!

Picture this: it’s a sweltering, South Florida Summer day and you’re looking for just the right sweet treat to take the edge off the unbearable heat. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt if this treat was also as pleasing to the eye as it was to the palate and this delightful pink and green Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo definitely fits the bill. While this dessert may not fall into the “Fast & Fabulous” category, it is definitely worth every minute it takes to make it. The flavors of ripe, juicy, Summer strawberries complement the vibrant green, nutty pistachios beautifully. This dish is perfect for Summer entertaining since it can be made days ahead of time and simply unmolded and sliced right before serving.

Semifreddo means “half cold” in Italian and refers to a type of semi-frozen dessert which, in this case, walks the line between ice cream and frozen mousse. This recipe does not require an ice cream maker to prepare but it does call for a bit of kitchen equipment including a hand mixer and/or stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Of course, you can always do these steps by hand but these two kitchen essentials will definitely cut down on the preparation time and save your arm as well.

Each layer of this dessert has its own unique flavor and texture: the strawberry layer is light and icy while the pistachio layer is thick and creamy. When eaten together, the two layers create a beautiful mouthfeel punctuated by the delightful crunch of the pistachios. This beautiful, tasty dessert is definitely on the short list for Summer entertaining at Chez Miskew. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!




Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo
adapted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine

1/2 cup unsalted, roasted, shelled pistachios
8 oz. ripe strawberries, hulled (approx. 2 cups)
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Line a standard 5 x 9 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 2″ overhang on all sides. Pulse pistachios in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl, do not wipe processor clean. Place strawberries and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in the processor; puree until smooth and transfer to a fine sieve set over a bowl. Stir puree, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids.
Combine the egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water so that bottom of bowl is over the water but not touching it. Beat the mixture with a hand mixer on high speed until pale yellow and tripled in volume, about 3 minutes. Transfer bowl to a larger bowl of ice water, making sure the bowl does not tip allowing ice water to seep into the egg yolk and sugar mixture; stir until mixture is very thick and cool, about 3 minutes.
Beat together cream and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer on med-hi speed using the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Whisk 1/3 of whipped cream into egg mixture, whisking until smooth then fold into remaining cream with a rubber spatula just until thoroughly incorporated.
Pour 1/2 of cream mixture into strawberry puree. Gently fold together until thoroughly incorporated, then pour into loaf pan and smooth top. Fold pistachios into remaining cream mixture and pour evenly over strawberry cream; smooth top. Fold plastic wrap over surface and freeze for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days. To serve, peel plastic back from surface. Invert pan onto a cutting board. Unmold semifreddo, remove plastic, and cut crosswise into 3/4-inch thick slices. Because the pistachio layer can be a bit softer than the strawberry layer, after removing the plastic wrap you can return the semifreddo to the loaf pan and slice it in the pan for prettier slices. Serves 12