Grilled Fruit with Chocolate-Vanilla Syrup
I began this blog for recipes like this!
Despite owning over 140 cookbooks (I know, I need a 12-step program), I was making the same ole’ recipes for dinner… day after day, after boring day. Having a recipe blog I figured, would motivate and challenge me to try something different. And through that experience, I would discover amazing dishes and recipes that I might otherwise not have.
This is one of those recipes.
Simple. Delicious. Beautiful.
I was instantly drawn to this dish when I first saw it in the cookbook, The Golden Book of Chocolate.
First, I was struck by the photograph of the dish – more specifically, the array of vibrant and sharp colors. And then came the ‘two’ of this recipe’s one-two punch…it was served with a chocolate syrup but not just any ole’ chocolate syrup, this one was infused with vanilla and the bright flavors of citrus and anise.
This was a recipe that I was going to have to try. And there was no better time than now. I wanted to end the first Chocolate Week here at Ceramic Canvas with something refreshing…a recipe that evoked the feelings and mood of summer: simple, natural, playful and relaxed.
Grilled Fruit with Chocolate-Vanilla Syrup definitely falls into that category. It’s not that grilled fruit is all that unusual of a concept. Honestly, I have never been all that motivated to try it until now (did I mention that it’s paired with a chocolate-vanilla syrup).
I am a sucker for a dish that has a layering of flavors and textures. Here’s what I experienced with this dish. Bright, refreshing flavor of the fruit: the soothing, relatively mild sweetness of the pears was a nice counter balance to the sharp sweetness of the strawberries and the tart plums. The chocolate-vanilla syrup was the bridge that pulled all of the elements together with its bold flavors of creamy chocolate and citrus. It also gave the entire dish the faint aroma of vanilla. And then there was the smoothing flavor of the whipped cream that cleansed my palette and got me ready to dive in for the next bite.
Note: One of the coolest elements of this dish is the long strands of orange zest that weave their way around the fruit. As they steep in the syrup, they become pliable and they take on an amazing candied-like texture. I’ve never been able to get these long strands with a zester. I use a knife. I slice the zest off in wide strips, carefully cut off any pith and then chiffonade the zest.
GRILLED FRUIT WITH CHOCOLATE-VANILLA SYRUP
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
1/3 cup fresh orange juice, about one orange
Zest from one orange
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
Dash anise seeds
¼ cup chocolate liqueur
2 TBL unsalted butter
2 TBL confectioner’s sugar
1 cup heavy cream (optional, 1 TSP sugar)
3 TSP mint, cut into chiffonades
Preheat the oven to 350˚.
Bring the sugar, water, orange juice, zest, vanilla and anise seeds to boil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Boil rapidly for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in chocolate liqueur. Set the syrup aside to cool a little.
Halve the figs, quarter and core the pears, halve and remove the pit from the plums and hull the strawberries. Toss the fruit in the confectioner’s sugar.
Melt the butter on a grill pan over high heat. Place the fruit cut side down onto the pan. When the fruit has grill marks caramelized on it, turn over and cook until there are grill marks on the other side too. Remove fruit from pan, place on a baking sheet and put in the oven until the fruit is softened but not mushy, 5-10 minutes.
Whip heavy cream (and optional sugar) in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until the soft peak stage, 3-4 minutes.
Arrange fruit in serving bowl. Pour the warm chocolate syrup over the top. Serve with a spoonful of whipped cream.