I think I have a new favorite dessert – and it’s healthy! Grilled peaches with balsamic glaze have been popping up on food blogs and in magazines for awhile now, and I have no idea why it took me this long to give it a try. I love peaches, and always have a few ripening on the counter this time of year.
Grilling the peaches not only makes them all warm and a bit melty, but concentrates the flavors of the lush fruit. The balsamic glaze adds a layer of puckery sweetness, and the basil adds a green earthiness to balance the whole dish. I could have eaten all four of those peach halves, they were so good. Next time I’ll toss an extra peach on the grill, so I can have some leftovers on my breakfast cinammon quinoa. Try this one out while the peaches are still in season!
Grilled Peaches with Balsamic Glaze
Serves 2, 69 calories per peach
2 peaches, halved and stones removed
4 T balsamic vinegar (the cheap stuff is fine)
2 tsp brown sugar
1 T fresh basil, sliced very thin
- Oil the grill area where you will be grilling the peaches. Preheat the grill to blazing hot. Place the halved peaches on the grill facedown. Grill for 4 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pour the vinegar and brown sugar into a small pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce until it gets syrupy and will coat a spoon. Turn off the heat and set aside. Roll the basil leaves up into a cigar shape, and then thinly slice (the chefs call this “chiffonade”).
- Take the peaches off the grill and drizzle with the balsamic glaze and sprinkle basil over the peaches. Enjoy!
I don’t know who came up with the peach-ginger flavor combination first, but whoever put them together is a genius! I bought a quart of peaches at the farmer’s market on Saturday, knowing that I wanted to turn them into ice cream, once they’d fully ripened.
Peaches in season, and locally grown are one of my favorite fruits – I love when you walk into the kitchen and catch a whiff of the perfectly ripe, perfumey orbs. The town where my parents grew up, Romeo, Michigan, has a Peach Festival every year. I have fond memories of going to the Peach Parade with Grandma and Grandpa, and then digging into some warm peach cobbler or peach pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The Peach Festival also had a carnivale, but Mom & Dad never told us about that, so I didn’t learn about that until I was a teenager and my first boyfriend and I went to the carnivale! But now that I’m an adult, I’d skip the carnivale, too – peachy desserts are far better than some carny rides.
As I was making this ice cream base, it needed a bit of brightness, so I squeezed in the juice from half a lemon, which really sharpened the flavor of the fresh peaches…but then I started thinking about a spicy note, and ginger was just the thing! I added about a tablespoon of fresh ginger to the ice cream base when I made it, but after it sat in the fridge overnight, the coconut milk swallowed most of the gingery flavor, so I added another tablespoon or so of fresh ginger right before I churned the ice cream. I also added a small handful of chopped crystallized ginger right at the end of the churn, and that added a lovely, chewy ginger note to the finished dessert.
Peach Ginger Ice Cream
Makes a little more than a quart
203 calories per 2/3 cup serving
5 large, ripe peaches
2/3 cup sugar
1 can coconut milk
2 T fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
2 T good quality tequila
juice of half a lemon
- Place a medium pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Place a few peaches at a time into the boiling water for 1 minute, then remove the peaches and peel them when they’re cool enough to touch. Slice the peaches into chunks.
- Place the peaches, coconut milk, sugar, tequila and lemon juice in the blender and puree until smooth. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge.
- When you’re ready to churn the ice cream in your ice cream maker, grate 2 T fresh ginger right into the base, stir and then churn. (If you add the ginger right when you puree everything up, the coconut milk will mute the ginger flavor while the ice cream base chills. When the ice cream is just about done turning in the machine, add the chopped crystallized ginger to the ice cream and let it churn for a minute more before you stash the finished ice cream in the freezer.
If you were looking for an easy introduction to making your own frozen desserts, whip up a batch of frozen yogurt. It’s as simple as dumping some fruit, plain yogurt and a bit of sweetener in the blender, whiz it up, then turn it in your ice cream maker. And, it’s healthy! Leave your guilt behind when you scoop up a dish of this summery treat.
As you have probably gathered by now, I spend my summers much like a squirrel, stashing his nuts away for the winter…only I freeze gallon bags of every seasonal berry and fruit in quart and gallon bags for the long winter season to come. As I was taking inventory of the growing hoard, I found a last lingering bag with some peaches from last summer, and so this peach frozen yogurt was born. It is a perfect dessert for hot summer days – very refreshing, tasting of the best peaches of summer, with a little bump of brightness from the lime. Be sure to add rum or vodka to this one, to keep it from freezing into an unscoopable block overnight.
Peach Fro Yo
Makes a little more than a quart
3 cups peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup agave nectar
3 cups organic vanilla yogurt
squeeze of lime juice
2 T rum
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until velvety smooth. Chill thoroughly, then turn in your ice cream maker.