Thursday, August 22, 2013

Grilled Peaches with Lavender Cream

To me, peaches and lavender are a match made in heaven. I'm especially fond of their combination in this delightful jam, which has quickly become a fan favorite. Last summer, we had unexpected guests for dinner and I had nothing in the way of dessert in the fridge. I did have some perfectly ripe peaches from the farmers market and half a carton of heavy cream. The two together made the perfect last minute dessert, and one I've been pining to make again all year long.

There really couldn't be anything simpler than peaches and cream, after all, it's just two basic ingredients. I find grilling peaches and flavoring the cream with lavender kicks everything up a notch. The grill marks give a wonderful caramelization to the peaches, while the lavender provides a subtle floral flavor. Utterly delicious! This is a great recipe to liven things up during your work week, or even as a no-fuss dessert at an upcoming summer dinner party. Using 8 oz. jelly jars makes an ideal serving size and gives the dessert a rustic, homey feel. 

Recipe by Michael Sullivan

For the lavender cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon food-grade dried lavender flowers
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the peaches
2 to 3 ripe peaches (about 1 pound)

For the lavender cream
Combine the cream and dried lavender in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture just to a simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat, and pour the cream mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl. Discard the dried lavender. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream (to prevent a skin from forming), and place another sheet over the bowl. Refrigerate the cream until very cold, about 2 to 3 hours.

Place a mixing bowl and whisk attachment (or whisk) in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to chill. Remove the bowl from the freezer and add the chilled cream, confectioner's sugar, and vanilla extract. Whip the cream on medium speed using an electric mixer (or by hand if you want the workout) until soft peaks form. Cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

For the peaches
To remove the skins from the peaches, using a paring knife, slice a large "x" on the bottom of each peach. Place the peaches in a pot of boiling water for 30 to 45 seconds. Remove using a slotted spoon or spider and transfer to an ice bath. Once the peaches are cool, peel off the skins, slice in half, and remove the pits. Slice each peach half into 1/2-inch thick slices. 

Just before serving, grill the peaches over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until grill marks appear. Remove the peaches from the grill and transfer to a plate to cool slightly.

Put 3 peach slices in each of the 8 oz. jelly jars. Add a couple spoonfuls of cream over the peaches, add a couple more peach slices over the cream, and continue alternating layers of peaches and cream until all of the peaches are used up. Top each jar off with a dollop of cream and serve immediately.

Serves 4 

  • You can find food-grade dried lavender at specialty herb shops, farmers markets, or at well-stocked grocery stores. Find it online here.

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