This Labor Day weekend just might be the last time you can fire up the Weber this year. Use these recipes and tips to end the outdoor cooking season on a deliciously high note.
By Daniel Duane Thu, Sep 1, 2011
CHEF: Stephen Collucci, head pastry chef at Colicchio & Sons, in New York City
Sweet stuff loves the sear every bit as much as savory: Think of classic French crème brûlée and the secret blowtorch kept in every restaurant kitchen precisely to caramelize that sweet, crispy-brown crust. Stephen Collucci, head pastry chef for Tom Colicchio first at Craft, then at Craft- steak, and now at Colicchio & Sons, keeps his grilled dessert even simpler, highlighting the combination of hot fire and a little seasonal fruit. It’s the kind of summer dessert you’ll make over and over again, until it becomes a natural part of your repertoire.
1 peach per person
2 cups white wine
2 cups sugar
2 sprigs mint (or chamomile) per person
1 vanilla bean per person
1/2 pint vanilla ice cream per person
1. The night before you’re going to grill, set out your peaches. Use a clean vegetable peeler or sharp knife to skin them. Then cut in half and discard the pits.
2. To make a simple syrup, combine white wine, sugar, mint, and vanilla bean in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stir to dissolve the sugar, remove from heat, and chill. (The chilling is critical: If you add raw peaches to hot liquid, they’ll start cooking and get mushy before they ever reach the grill.)
3. Immerse the peaches in the chilled syrup overnight in the refrigerator. (You can do this step several days in advance.)
4. Set each peach half cut-side down onto a medium-hot grill, watch for flare-ups, and grill for about three minutes, or until the bottom is well seared and the top has begun to soften.
5. Serve with vanilla ice cream and fresh berries.
EXPERT FIRE: BUY A BLOWTORCH
Even in a good chimney starter, hardwood charcoal can take up to 30 minutes from the time you light that match to the moment it’s all hot enough to use. But you can easily halve that time by waving a blowtorch over all the charcoal for a few minutes, making sure to hit each one. Any $20 hardware-store propane torch will do the trick, quickly igniting a whole evening’s worth of coals.