Hybrid fruits intrigue me. I remember touring the hydroponic gardens at Epcot a few years ago and the guide spoke of hybrid fruits and thinking that was so "futuristic". Well here we are 2008 and right in my local supermarket are pluots.
Having never heard of a pluot, I immediately assumed that the signmaker in the supermarket made some sort of spelling error-these were just ugly colored or unripened plums. But on closer examination (and just before I was about to open my know it all mouth to the produce manager) I realized it was my error-I had stumbled upon a fruit of the future: pluots. (From what I have been able to read about pluots, they've been around since about 1990, but this is the first time I've seen them, so quite possibly they are just the fruit of my future.)
A pluot is a cross hybrid of a plum and an apricot created by biologist Floyd Zaiger. They are grown in California and can be found in your supermarket during the summer and early fall months.
While they don't look particularly appealing from the outside, when sliced open they reveal a delicately pretty reddish center. They are deliciously sweet and definitely deserve a place in your grocery cart-if for no other reason than to be able to say "I've tasted a pluot".
This recipe using pluots was inspired by the basil gelato I tasted the other day at Whole Foods (it was surprisingly refreshing). I have used purchased cookie shells but you may substitute homemade shells if you want to go the extra mile. If you are unable to find pluots, plums and/or apricots would make an acceptable substitute.
Elegant Pluot Basil Cookie Cups
8 ounces whipped cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves, plus additional for garnish
24 mini cookie shells
In a medium bowl stir together the cream cheese and the sugar. Stir in the basil.
Divide the cream cheese mixture evenly between the cookie shells spooning into the center of each.
Very thinly slice the pluots into wedges for a total of 48 slices. Fan the slices over the cream cheese in each cookie shell. Garnish each with a tiny bit of basil. Serve or cover loosely and chill until serving.
Yield: 24 cookie cups