Grilled Stone Fruit with Toasted Almond Butter
When summertime’s stone fruits are at their best, grill them for a fast, warm dessert. This recipe calls for plums and peaches, but apricots, nectarines and pluots are all equally attractive candidates. The grill-marked fruits are perfectly complemented by the vanilla-scented almond butter.
For the toasted almond butter:
- 3/4 cup sliced natural almonds
- 1 Tbs. firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
- 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 6 firm but ripe plums, halved lengthwise and pits removed
- 3 firm but ripe peaches, halved lengthwise and pits removed
- Canola oil for brushing
To make the almond butter, place the almonds in a dry fry pan, set over medium heat and toast, stirring or shaking frequently, until they smell smoky and are golden in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool completely.
Place 1/2 cup of the toasted almonds and the brown sugar in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until the almonds are very finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl and add the butter. Using the tip of a paring knife, cut the vanilla bean lengthwise. With the back of the paring knife, scrape the seeds into the bowl and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for up to 8 hours. (Do not refrigerate the butter; if it is soft, it will melt best over the hot fruit.)
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Lightly oil the grill rack.
Brush the cut sides of the plums and peaches lightly with oil and place, cut side down, over the hottest part of the grill. Cook until the fruit is nicely grill-marked underneath, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the fruit over and cook until the skins are beginning to blister, 2 to 3 minutes more.
For each serving, place 2 plum halves and 1 peach half in a dessert bowl and top with a heaping dollop of the almond butter. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup toasted almonds, dividing evenly, and serve immediately. Serves 6.
Chef’s tip: After scraping the seeds from vanilla bean pods, you can reserve them to make vanilla sugar: Combine the pods and 2 cups granulated sugar in an airtight container. Let stand at room temperature for 2 weeks so the vanilla pods can infuse the sugar. Use to flavor beverages or in baking.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Mastering Series, Grilling & Barbecuing, by Rick Rodgers (Free Press, 2006).