It’s now officially, definitely, probably Summer. The sun is shining for the time being and that means a few things will invariably happen. The shorts that you put away in October will make a reappearance, London cabbies will have a perfect tan, but only on their right arm and… most importantly… the cobwebs will be swept away, the coals loaded and the barbecue fired up, all whilst looking at that ominous black cloud and wondering where you put the umbrella.
Sausages, check. Burgers, check. Steak, oh why not?
But what about pudding? Leave those bananas alone and reach for something else. British peaches and nectarines are absolutely amazing this time of year – ours are from Chegworth Valley in Kent. Here’s a barbecue recipe which really brings out the best in these balls of loveliness:
Barbecued nectarines with vanilla ricotta cream, ginger and hazelnut crumb, and raspberries
4 ripe nectarines – swap for peaches, equally as good
1 punnet of raspberries
250g ricotta – Westcombe’s if you can get it
100ml double cream
Tsp vanilla extract – not essence, never essence!
Handful of toasted hazelnuts
4 ginger biscuits
This one is a doddle. Get your cream ready first. Whip the double cream into soft peaks. Fold in the ricotta and the vanilla extract. If you like it sweeter, add a bit of icing sugar, but it really doesn’t need it. Cover, and leave to one side, or in the fridge if you’re prepping way ahead of time.
Toast your hazelnuts in a dry pan. They’ll take a couple of minutes, but worth keeping an eye on them as they can catch really quickly. Put them in a pestle and mortar with the ginger biscuits and get some of that anger over that sausage that fell through the grill out on them.
Now the technical bit. Once you’ve stoned and halved your nectarines, place them on a direct heat on the barbie to get those lovely grill marks that look good in the Instagram photo. After a couple of minutes or well marked, turn them over. Move the coals to one side so they’re not directly under the fruit and close the lid. This indirect grilling will cook the fruit through making them warm and juicy and not burnt! Give them about 5 minutes and then test with a skewer or small knife. If it slides in pretty easily, they’re done.
Arrange on a plate – 2 halves per person should do. Top with a couple of quenelles of the ricotta cream, add a few raspberries and sprinkle liberally with the crumb. Devour. Instagram photo optional.