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Author Notes: Some of my favorite summertime desserts are around grilled fruit. I grill nectarines from our tree, peaches, and plums. I found some beautiful pluots at WF today, so that was it. If you use plums BTW, I recommend not using Santa Rosas as they don't hold their shape as well during grilling. I made shortcakes I make periodically and amped up the lemon and added a bunch of thyme and finished with a brown sugar, honey, lemon, butter and thyme sauce that caramelizes. Surprisingly, the thyme really makes this sauce work. This offsets the tartness of the pluots. On top, although probably not really needed, I added a dollop of cream, creme fraiche and lemon I whipped up. So this started out as a healthy dessert, but in the end, not so much. So much for my diet. The shortcakes make enough for 8. If I don't use them all, they store great in the freezer for at least up to a month. In fact everything except grilling the fruit can be done ahead so that all you need do is grill the fruit when you're ready for this dessert. —TheWimpyVegetarian
Lemon-Thyme Shortcakes (Note: recipe makes enough for 8 shortcakes)
- 7.5 ounces all-purpose flour
- 3 ounces sugar, plus more for sprinkles
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced in 1/4" slices, chilled
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 1/4 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the food processor. Process for about 20 seconds to distribute the baking powder/soda well through the mixture.
- Add the butter all at once and pulse until the texture starts to look like peas. Before adding the liquids, run a fork through the butter mixture to make sure there are no large butter pieces.
- Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl and add to the dry ingredients. Pulse a few times until the dough is just starting to come together.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured workspace, knead it lightly with your fingertips a few times and roll out to 3/4" thick. Use dough/biscuit cutter to cut out 8 circles (I used a 2-1/2" cutter). Place on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Sprinkle them with sugar. Use the rest of the dough to roll into 8 little balls in the palm of your hand. Each ball should be about 1-1/2" in diameter. Roll them in sugar and place them on the baking sheet. (The disks will be the shortcake bottoms; the balls will become domed tops.)
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until just turning a golden brown. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Try not to eat them yet. Or at least not too many.
Grilled Pluots, Thyme Caramel and Whipped Topping (this serves 4)
- 4 pluots, halved and pitted
- grapeseed oil for grilling the pluots
- 8 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves (some small stems are ok too)
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- pinch salt
- To make the Thyme Caramel, melt the brown sugar, butter, honey and lemon juice together over medium-low heat. Add a pinch of salt and the thyme leaves. Simmer for 30 seconds and turn off the heat. Let it steep for 30 minutes. Rewarm to a liquidy sauce consistency over low heat when ready to build the shortcakes.
- Make the whipped topping by first whipping the cream until almost firm peaks. Add the creme fraiche, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Continue to whip until firm peaks. Set aside.
- To grill the pluots, preheat the grill until the rack is very hot. Baste the cut side of the fruit with grapeseed oil and place, cut side down over direct heat. Let the fruit cook for a good 4-5 minutes. Baste the bottoms with the grapeseed oil and turn the fruit over and move to indirect heat. Continue to cook another 10 minutes or until the fruit is softened.
- To build the dish, place a shortcake disk on the plate and top it with 2 grilled halves of the pluot. Pour some warm Thyme-Caramel over them. Place a domed shortcake piece (formed from the shortcake balls) on top. Add a dollop of the whipped cream. Pour some champagne or a glass of port and celebrate life.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Use of Lemon, Thyme and a Grill
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