Grilled peach and Amaretti parfaits in a jar
Summer is peach season
Peach season is short and sweet. We need to make the most of peach season while peaches are juicy and delicious. Here is a quick and easy dessert that is the perfect ending for your summer barbecue. To learn more about peaches, how to buy and store them, and their nutritional value, see my peach post.
Grilling peaches makes them better. Grilling brings out the sweetness in the peach. My tip is to grill your peaches before you grill your dinner. That way you can assemble the parfaits while dinner is on the grill and put them in the fridge to chill. Or you can do the grilling early in the day so dessert is ready when mealtime comes around.
Pitting your peaches
All peaches are not alike when it comes to pitting. Freestone peaches are by far the easiest to pit. When you cut a freestone peach in half, the pit will easily separate from the flesh. When you cut a clingstone peach in half the flesh will cling to it. Get it? Freestone and clingstone? I didn't catch on to this obvious concept for years. Hopefully, you are smarter than me!
If you have freestone peaches all the better. But if you don't, all is not lost. Cut your clingstone peach in half. Carefully twist the two halves apart like you are opening a jar. Be forewarned, sometimes this works pretty well and sometimes you lose a lot of the peach. Quartering the peach may help if the stones are particularly clingy. Once the peach is halved or quartered use a spoon to dig out the peach pit. I used clingstone peaches in the pictures. They look a little rough, but they taste great.
Amaretti are a traditional Italian cookie made from egg whites, ground apricot kernels, sugar and flour. This surprised me. For years I thought these cookies were made from ground almonds. That is what happens when you write a food blog. You have to check your assumptions, and you are often surprised.
Crumbled, Amaretti are a wonderful crunchy addition to a variety of desserts. I put the cookies in a ziplock bag and run over them with a rolling pin to turn them into crumbles.
Mascarpone is a spreadable Italian cheese dating back to the 16th or 17th century that is made from cream and citric acid or lemon juice. It is the signature ingredient in tiramisu and is often used in traditional cheesecake. You will notice the cheesecake-like flavor in this easy dessert. I blend mascarpone with yogurt to lighten it up. You can vary your ratio of mascarpone to yogurt to adjust the richness of this dessert.
I like to use Nielsen Massey vanilla paste for its flavor and the cute little vanilla specks. Using the paste is easier and less expensive than using a vanilla bean. The paste adds deep vanilla flavor without adding extra liquid. If you don't have vanilla paste you can substitute an equal amount of vanilla extract.
If you follow Something New For Dinner you may have noticed that I put lemon zest in a lot of recipes. The zest imparts lemon flavor without the liquid. The flavor comes from the oils in the colored part of the skin. For zest you want to use a very fine grater and remove only the colored part of the peel as the white pith is bitter and will not give you the results you want. This is my favorite tool for zesting citrus. It is also useful for grating ginger and nutmeg.
Dessert in a jar
I love these little Italian canning jars for appetizers, desserts, and breakfast yogurt parfaits. You will find these jars come in very handy. People like eating portion-controlled desserts in jars. They look great and it is a lot easier to stop at one jar than it is to control how much you scoop out in your bowl! Just don't wash the lids in the dishwashers as they will rust.
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 t vanilla bean paste
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 8 large freestone peaches
- 3 T butter, melted
- 20 Amaretti cookie snaps
- 8 mint sprigs for garnish (optional)
- In a small bowl combine mascarpone cheese, yogurt, vanilla and lemon zest. Cover and refrigerate.
- Heat grill to medium high and oil grates with a bit of butter. Slice the peaches in half and remove the pits. Brush the cut side of the peaches with melted butter. Grill for about 3 minutes cut-side down, until there are some nice grill marks on the bottom of the peaches. Remove from the grill and let cool.
- Put the Amaretti in a ziplock bag and roll with a rolling pin to crumble. Cut the peaches into bite-size pieces. Assemble 8 parfaits by layering the ingredients in individual 8-ounce mason jars as follows: Put peach pieces from ½ peach in the bottom of each mason jar. Follow with a tablespoon of the mascarpone and yogurt mixture and a teaspoonful of the Amaretti crumble. Repeat with a second layer. Cover the jars with lids and refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove lids before serving and garnish with a sprig of mint.