Dessert Panzanella: Stone Fruit Panzanella Dulce

Dessert Panzanella: Stone Fruit Panzanella Dulce | pastrychefonline.comI can barely believe another month has flown past and it is already time for another Progressive Eats progressive dinner! I'm especially excited about this month because, even though most of us are looking forward to cooler weather just around the corner, there is no doubt that it is still summer and there are beautiful stone fruits to be had. Yes, this month, we are celebrating stone fruits--peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, etc. Exciting, because stone fruits lend themselves equally well to both savory and sweet dishes.

Let me just go ahead and show you the menu before I tell you about my Dessert Panzanella, okay?

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Stone Fruits



I love that there is an even split between savory and sweet! See, what did I tell you? I cannot wait to plow through everyone's posts this month!

Dessert Panzanella or Stone Fruit Panzanella Dulce

Stone Fruit and Sweet Cornmeal Biscuits for Dessert Panzanella | pastrychefonline.comThis dessert was the first that I created myself when I was promoted to pastry chef. I had had input on recipes before, and I had created what the chef or pastry chef had suggested, but this baby is all mine. And now it's yours, too! Dessert Panzanella is obviously a play on the wonderful Italian salad, Panzanella which features torn bread, juicy tomatoes and sometimes other vegetables, and a flavorful dressing.

My original dessert version featured cubed lemon poppy seed pound cake playing the part of the bread. In this version, I slightly modified the recipe for cornmeal biscuits from Jackie Garvin's wonderful cookbook, Biscuits: Sweet and Savory Southern Recipes for the All-American Kitchen. She suggests you serve the original version with a hearty stew, and I concur. All I had to do to make them dessert-ready was to add a touch of sugar, a sprinkle of nutmeg and a dusting of coarse sugar after I brushed them with buttermilk.

I have to say I like this version better than the original. The sweetness of the cornmeal really plays nicely with the juicy stone fruit. I used a mixture of white peaches, red and black plums and pluots, but you can use whatever looks great at your market.

mint for dessert panzanella |

a dessert panzanella-3Yet another excellent use of sour mix! Just dilute with a bit more simple syrup and infuse with mint.

The entire "salad" is dressed with a minted simple syrup--all I did was dilute my homemade sour mix with a bit more plain simple syrup and infused it with fresh mint from the garden. Finish the salad with chiffonade mint (or basil even) and a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

a dessert panzanella-6Dessert panzanella is a light and fresh way to end a summertime meal. And you can take the concept and adapt it to any fruit in any season. Switch up the mint for warmer spices and use lightly sauteed apples in place of the peaches, and you have a dessert panzanella perfect for cooler nights and shorter days. I hope you'll take this idea and truly make it your own. For now, I will show you how I made this version.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Dessert Panzanella: Stone Fruit Panzanella Dulce
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This light, fresh dessert "salad" makes the most of late summer stone fruit. With lightly sweetened cornmeal biscuits in place of the traditional torn bread and plums and peaches in place of tomatoes, this is truly a New Southern dessert.
What You Need
For the Biscuits
  • 1½ cups (6.5 oz) all purpose flour
  • ½ cup (3.5 oz) cornmeal
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar in the raw plus more for sprinkling
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ + ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • several gratings fresh nutmeg
  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 cup buttermilk plus more for brushing
For the Dressing
  • ½ cup sour mix
  • 2 oz granulated sugar
  • 2 oz water
  • small pinch of salt
  • 10 mint leaves, bruised
For the Fruit
  • a variety of stone fruit, I used white peaches, red plums, black plums and pluots. Allow 1-2 pieces of whole fruit per diner
To Serve (per diner)
  • 1 torn and toasted cornmeal biscuit
  • 2-3 mint leaves, chiffonade (cut into thin strips)
  • about 1 cup sliced fruit
  • 2-3 Tablespoons dressing
  • 1 dollop of whipped cream or scoop vanilla ice cream
What To Do
For the Biscuits
  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
  3. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until no pieces of butter are larger than peas and the flour mixture looks mealy.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour/butter mixture and pour in the buttermilk.
  5. Mix gently (I just use a knife) until all the flour is moistened.
  6. Turn out onto a well-floured surface, sprinkle some more flour on top, and knead gently a couple of times until the dough holds its shape and isn't too sticky.
  7. Roll out the dough into a rough rectangle about ¼" thick.
  8. Starting with the sides of the dough and using a bench knife to help you, fold ⅓ of the dough over on top of itself and fold the other side over that so it is folded like a letter.
  9. Now fold the top third of the dough down onto itself and fold the bottom third up over that so now it's folded like a letter in either direction.
  10. Gently roll out the folded dough until it is about ½" thick.
  11. Cut rounds (or squares) with a floured cutter, pressing straight down to the counter before twisting.
  12. Gather the scraps and pile them on top of each other. Pat them down until they're about ½" tall. Cut as many extra biscuits as you can. I was able to cut a total of 10 biscuits.
  13. Place in a large cast iron skillet or onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  14. Brush the tops with buttermilk and liberally sprinkle coarse sugar on top.
  15. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden brown.
For the Dressing
  1. Put the sour mix into a container.
  2. Bring the sugar, water and salt to a boil. Boil for 15 seconds.
  3. Cool the simple syrup and add it to the sour mix in the container.
  4. Add the bruised mint leaves (just crush them in your hands) and stir well.
  5. Let the dressing infuse in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Taste. If you want it to taste mintier, let it infuse an additional 30-45 minutes.
  6. When the dressing is as minty as you want, strain out the mint. Refrigerate the dressing until ready to use.
For the Fruit
  1. Peel the fruit (or not--your choice. I peeled the peach but not the plums or pluots). Slice them into ¼" to ⅓" slices.
  2. Place the fruit in a large bowl.
To Serve
  1. Place the torn biscuits (they can still be warm) into a large bowl followed by the mint or basil and the fruit. Drizzle on some of the dressing and toss the "salad" with clean hands or with salad tongs. The biscuits should not be soggy, but you do want to make sure you're using enough dressing to moisten them and to bring a minty element to the fruit. Add a bit more dressing if necessary and toss again.
  2. Allow about 1½ cups of salad per diner.
  3. Top with whipped cream or ice cream and an additional sprinkle of chiffonade mint or basil (optional).
  4. Serve immediately and enjoy.
Other Stuff to Know
Prep time does not include waiting for the dressing to chill. You can make the biscuits and dressing the day before. Don't slice the fruit until right at serving time as the fruit can tend to go brown. If you must cut up the fruit earlier, sprinkle it with Fruit Fresh or some water with lemon or lime juice in it.

I hope you have enjoyed all the sweet and savory recipes the talented Progressive Eats crew has shared this month and that maybe your eyes have been opened to new and different ways of enjoying stone fruit.

Dessert Panzanella: Stone Fruit Panzanella Dulce | pastrychefonline.comThank you so much for taking the time to read today. Take care, and have a lovely day.


Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month's theme is all about Stone Fruits and is hosted by Ansh Dhar who blogs at Spiceroots. With Summer coming to an end, it's a great time to use the Summer's abundant bounty in everyday food. We have some great ideas this month to use all the stone fruit - from BBQ Sauce, to curries, to Duck and of course Desserts.

If you're unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.

We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.


  1. says

    O.M.G. Jenni … you always blow me away. Your recipes are spectacular, photos sublime, and when it comes to creative blending of flavors – you reign supreme! I bow to your skills and am already face down in a bowl of this incredible panzanella. Pull me out if I don’t come up for air soon, LOL! 🙂

    • says

      You are too, too kind Jane! But I will happily join you in a bowl of this “salad!” It really is so light and wonderful, and there are so many ways to switch it up depending on what fruit/biscuits/cake you have lying around!

    • says

      Yes, I guess calling it “deconstructed shortcake” is just as true as calling it a dessert panzanella! And the mint really does lift everything up. Ours is still hanging on, but it probably won’t be around much longer. Sigh.

  2. says

    I have find out a way to at least meet you once and eat all the gorgeous food you make! Agreed we can’t be neighbors, it won;t be good for our waistline :)) but you are making me crave things like a dessert panzanella!

    • says

      You aren’t kidding that it could be dangerous for us to be neighbors, Ansh! You know that Indian food is my weakness, and that lamb/plum tagine was perfection! And I would gladly swap you for some dessert panzanella fixin’s! =)

  3. says

    I’d be tempted to skip dinner and just make a meal out of this beautiful dessert salad! I love the flavors (and ingenious way to use sour mix). I want to try both versions – the biscuits and the lemon poppyseed pound cake – yummmmmm!


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