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Sunday, August 24, 2014

seasonal peaches are the best

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Juicy, delicious Ontario peaches are yet another reason that I just love summer.  There is nothing else that compares to the amazing flavour, and the sensation of the juices just running down your chin and arm while you eat it.

Peaches are one of the few fruits that I 100% refuse to buy out of season.  I've grown to accept the mediocre California strawberries that we get (obviously still not as good as fresh local ones, but hey, in February, I will take what I can get).  I just don't have this acceptance for peaches.  They must be local(ish) - technically, no one in my area actually can grow peaches because I guess it's too cold.  But Niagara peaches are awesome.

All that to say, when I can get delicious local peaches, I pounce on them.  I like to keep things simple, and this is a great way to have an amazing (and quick!) dessert.

Grilling peaches introduces a really sophisticated flavour note, and it makes the whole thing look a lot fancier than it really is.  I made the caramel sauce myself, but if you didn't want to, you could definitely purchase a good quality one from a store...though you should totally try making it, because it's quite simple, once you get the sugar caramelized.

grilled peaches with crown royal caramel and ice cream
grilled niagara peach with vanilla ice cream and crown royal caramel sauce

1/4 c water
1 c sugar
1/2 c cream (I used half and half)
sea salt
2 T crown royal

6 peaches
vanilla ice cream

1. Make your caramel in advance - put 1 c sugar in a medium/large pot (it will bubble up a lot, later, when you add the cream).  Add the 1/4 c water.  Don't touch it or stir it.  Just turn the burner to medium and watch.  It will likely take about 10 minutes (possibly more?), but the sugar will melt, it will all start to boil, and then all the water will evaporate, and eventually, it will start to turn brown.  You want to let it get pretty brown, for a more flavourful caramel, but you have to watch things closely, because it can burn and that is crappy.  I was a bit of a chicken, so my caramel isn't as brown as I would have liked.  But it was still good.

2. Once the sugar mixture has browned, remove it from heat, stand back, and carefully pour in the cream.  It will bubble up like crazy.  That's okay.  Once it calms down, add a good sprinkle of sea salt and the crown royal, and then stir.  Stir until it all comes together, and then let it cool.  You should probably taste it too.  Because caramel.

3. Halve the peaches and remove their pits.  Hopefully this goes better for you than it did for me.  I crushed a couple of mine trying to get the darn pits out.  Still tasted good.

4. Preheat the grill, brush a bit of a neutral oil (canola/grapeseed/peanut) on the peaches, and grill them, cut site down, for about 7-9 minutes.  You want a tiny bit of a char, and to allow some of the smokiness to flavour them.

5.  Serve the peaches topped with a scoop of ice cream and a good drizzle of caramel.  This was soooooooooo good!

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