I am hoping you’ve had a wonderful weekend! My mind and kitchen (and grill) have seen a buzz with some great new summer recipes to share in the next few weeks! For regular readers, seeing another grill recipe today will not come as a surprise. I’m finding myself happiest this summer after hours of being doused with smoke from experimenting on the grill and with smoking. I text girlfriends when meeting up for last minute cocktails apologizing in advance that I’ll most likely be the one smelling like a campfire.
With peaches coming into season the idea of a Grilled Peach Mascarpone Ice Cream popped to mind. It’s been awhile since I’ve made ice cream and the idea of deeply sweet grilled peaches sounded perfect. Grilling fruit isn’t usually the first thing to pop into one’s mind however it deepens the flavor and for some things, for instance this Grilled Watermelon with Smoked Salt and Jalapeno Slices, transforms it into a completely new flavor profile. When watermelon is grilled it becomes very savory, tasting much more like a vegetable than what we are used to at summer picnics.
Combining grilled fruit and vegetables make wonderful salads and relishes. A family favorite is Grilled Corn and Peach Salsa I made a few summers ago. It’s beautiful to behold and the flavors of sweet and spicy made earthy with grilling a great summer surprise.
This Grilled Peach Mascarpone Ice Cream has a bit of a tang from the mascarpone cheese which also creates a creamy texture. A little trick I added was to include some cinnamon sticks in the ice cream base as it cools. This imparts a light cinnamon flavor to the ice cream without overwhelming the peach flavor. Ripe peaches are included in the ice cream (pureed) for flavor along with chunks of grilled peaches. Grilling some peaches to garnish when serving tops it all off!
Freestone vs. Clingstone Peaches: every year I excitedly jump at the first peaches showing up at my local market, usually with a recipe in mind that is best served by pretty peach halves or slices. I always feel like a head slap is in order when beginning to peel and remove the pit, only ending up with a pulpy mess. As the names imply, freestone peaches release beautifully from the pit making them the right choice for slicing or any recipe where you want them to look pretty. Clingstones hold on the pit for dear life but still taste great so for jam, a sauce or a smoothie they work great. Generally the type of the peach, freestone or clingstone, is not noted on the grocery sign and visually they cannot be distinguished from each other. The way to know is by the calendar. Clingstones pop up first and are usually done by the end of June or early July (depending on your region) when the freestones arrive and carry out the rest of summer. When in doubt, check with your grocer or farmer to be sure you are selecting the right type for your recipe plans.
Grilled Peach Mascarpone Ice Cream
- 1 ½ cup Half and Half
- ½ cup Whole Milk
- ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 3 ½- inch Cinnamon Sticks (normal size, not extra-long)
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 8 ounces Mascarpone Cheese
- 2 very ripe medium-sized freestone Peaches , peeled, pitted and juice reserved (_Note: they will be pureed with the ice cream base so do not have to be a specific form after peeling and pitting_)
- 2 ripe but firm medium-sized freestone Peaches , peeled, pitted, cut into 4 thick slices
- Olive oil
- Optional: additional peaches to grill for garnish when serving the ice cream
- Combine the half and half, whole milk and sugar in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir often to dissolve the sugar and prohibit the mixture from burning. Once mixture is heated and sugar is dissolved turn off the heat.
- Add the cinnamon sticks to the sauce pan and allow to steep for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, remove and discard the cinnamon sticks. Pour the cooled mixture into a blender along with the lemon juice, mascarpone cheese and very ripe peaches with any juice released from peeling them. Puree in the blender until smooth. Refrigerate the mixture until chilled; 2-3 hours.
- Process the ice cream mixture in an ice cream machine following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- While the ice cream is processing, grill the peaches. Heat the grill to medium-high (350-375 degrees). Clean and oil the grill. Brush both sides of the peach slices lightly with olive oil and grill for 2 minutes per side. Remove and allow to cool slightly (about 5 minutes). Chop into small pieces to go into the ice cream mixture.
- When the ice cream is almost done, add the chopped grilled peaches to the machine and allow to fully mix into the ice cream. Remove the ice cream and spoon it into a freezer-safe container. Allow to freeze fully for several hours or overnight. Additional peach wedges can be grilled the same as the slices to garnish the ice cream when served.