I really hope that everyone is having as good luck with strawberries as I am right now. Every basket in recent memory has been fantastic and very few have lasted more than a few hours in the kitchen; they’re just that hard to resist. Ordinarily I wouldn’t complain about something like strawberries being too delicious, but I just can’t keep enough around to put together a decent batch of strawberry shortcakes these days.
Fortunately, this isn’t much of a problem when the other fruits of summer are top-notch, too. My hunt for a strawberry replacement to go with my shortcakes only lasted minutes before I spotted some peaches I had picked up for grilling. The fruit was split, pitted and on the grill within minutes – and ready to be stacked in the shortcakes in only a few more.
Stone fruits are perfect for grilling because they stay juicy and are firm enough to maintain their structural integrity over the heat. It takes about 5 minutes for a just-ripe peach half to cook, but you’re looking for the fruit to be lightly browned and “fork-tender” when it is ready. I recommend lightly greasing the cut side of the fruit so that it doesn’t stick to the grill when you take it off the heat, but this probably isn’t necessary if you’re using a nonstick grill pan indoors instead of an outdoor barbecue. The fruit can be eaten plain, with ice cream (fantastic!) or with cake (shortcakes, in this case).
The shortcake recipe is a very slightly variation on the strawberry shortcakes I made last month, as I just added some chopped candied ginger to the basic dough recipe. Feel free to leave it out, or to replace it with something else, like white chocolate chips.
Grilled Peach Shortcakes with Candied Ginger
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup diced candied ginger
Grilled peaches (instructions below)
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Rub in butter with your finger tips until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (or pulse a few times in a food processor). Stir in buttermilk and vanilla extract until the dough comes together, then mix in candied ginger. Add an additional tablespoon of buttermilk if the dough is slightly dry.
Drop by 1/4 cups (use a measuring cup) onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
When ready to serve, slice each shortcake in half and top generously with slices of grilled peaches and whipped cream. Alternatively, you could simply put out the sliced cakes with bowls of whipped cream and peaches and let your friends top the shortcakes themselves.
Slice each peach in half and remove the pit. No need to peel them.
Lightly grease the cut side of the fruit so that it doesn’t stick to the grill when you take it off the heat, and place each peach cut-side down on a hot grill.
Grill until fork-tender, or about 5 minutes.
Remove peaches from heat and let cool for a few minutes, then slice and serve with the shortcakes above or with vanilla ice cream.