September 10, 2013 01:30 PM

FOOD & WINE/Chris Court, Inset: Adriel Reboh/ USA

Eric Ripert likes to stir things up—and we’re not talking about a pot.

The reality-show judge and acclaimed French chef/owner of N.Y.C.’s Le Bernardin restaurant got an idea in his clever culinary head: to make profiteroles—miniature cream puffs—with fruit instead of pastry.

We found this intriguing and somewhat baffling: Why mess with perfection? If you’ve ever had a classic profiterole, you know that the sweet dough is a crucial component and the “holder” of the whipped cream stuffed inside.

But Ripert was on a mission. First, he cooked a few plump apricots with honey and vanilla seeds, then stuffed the juicy golden fruit with vanilla ice cream and topped it with warm chocolate sauce spiked with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

One mouthful and we were murmuring, “Pastry who?”

Bonus: Ripert’s recipe is gluten-free!

It’s such a winner that during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, the dessert is available at the American Express Skybox, and on October 1, it will be included in Food & Wine Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook.

Want to whip it up for dessert tonight? Here’s how:

Sautéed Apricot Profiteroles

Serves 4


3 tbsp. honey

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

4 large apricots, halved and pitted

4 small scoops of vanilla ice cream

Chocolate sauce:

3½ oz. good-quality dark chocolate, chopped

¾ cup heavy cream

1½ tbs. honey

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1. Prepare the apricots: In a large skillet, combine the honey and vanilla seeds and cook over moderate heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the apricot halves, cut side down, and cook, moving them frequently in the skillet, until they start to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the apricots to a plate.

2. Make the chocolate sauce: Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, honey and spices and bring to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth.

3. Set 1 apricot half cut side up in each bowl and top with a scoop of ice cream. Set another apricot half on top, cut side down, and drizzle with the warm chocolate sauce. Serve right away.

—Nancy Mattia

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