In Season: Peaches

august-food-012Peaches are one of my favorite summertime fruits.  In season from July through September, a freshly picked, ripe peach is nothing short of pure bliss!  By adding a touch of heat you enter a whole new realm of fruit heaven.

I first started experimenting with grilled fruit a few years back when developing a “no bake summer dessert” class for my cooking school.  I had the requisite chocolate desserts (Pots du Creme and tiramisu), and also a frozen granita dessert.  What was lacking was a fruit dessert—but I had to find one that didn’t have to be baked into a pie, crisp or crumble.  Grilled peaches fit the bill perfectly, and were the surprise hit of the class.

Grilling fruit enhances its natural sugars, rendering it sweet and slightly softened.  By finishing the peaches with a touch of whipped cream and some crumbled amaretti cookies, you have the makings of a dessert nice enough for company, but simple enough for a weeknight snack.

Now about amaretti cookies:  they are little, round, crunchy almond-flavored cookies that can usually be found in specialty groceries or Italian bakeries.  They are very sweet and can be easily crumbled.  If you have trouble finding amaretti, it is no problem to use traditional almond biscotti to create a similar effect. 

Grilled Peaches with Amaretti Crumbles
Serves 4
 
2 large, ripe peaches, halved
olive oil
4-6 amaretti cookies (I like “Bellino” brand, but use almond biscotti if you cannot find amaretti)
whipped cream
 
Preheat your grill to medium heat (around 300-325 degrees)
To halve each peach, run a sharp knife starting at  the stem, down along the side through the bottom, and back up to meet the stem on the other side.  Gently twist the halves to separate.  Use your knife to carefully pop out the pit. 
Brush each half with a little olive oil and place cut-side-down on the hot grill.
Grill for approximately 3-4 minutes, until grill marks appear and the peaches begin to soften.  Flip over, and continue to grill for another 2-3 minutes.
Place grilled peaches on a plate (cut-side up), and top with a dollop of whipped cream and a crumbled amaretti cookie.  Serve warm.

Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.

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