Emma Frisch shares campground-friendly cooking techniques and recipes in Feast by Firelight.
One summer in Venice, Italy, I was chased out of a market stall for prodding a peach. The red-faced owner scolded, “Would I sell fruit that isn’t ripe?!” I was mortified and ran to my mom. She explained that you could choose a ripe peach just by looking for slight depressions, often mistaken for bruising, and that stone fruit in general smelled sweet when ripe. You will need perfectly ripe stone fruit for this recipe, which takes the exquisite experience of eating it fresh to new heights when grilled. This recipe is even easier if you want to bypass the honey-ginger syrup, though I wouldn’t recommend skipping the bread crumble. My friend Stefan, owner of Wide Awake Bakery in Ithaca, New York, first introduced me to bread crumble. He said it was so good and so different from anything he had ever tried that he had to make a new category for it in his brain. Bread crumble is made from stale, or “aged,” bread that’s hardened over a couple days; it’s broken into small pieces and caramelized with butter and sugar. Not only is it a resourceful way to use bread that’s hardened, but it has the same addictive quality of popcorn. Drizzle fresh cream over your dessert; just don’t faint when you take a bite.
- To make the bread crumble: In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or frying pan over medium heat, toast the bread crumbs, pushing them around with a wooden spoon, until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low, add the butter and brown sugar, and stir until the crumbs are coated in the melted butter and darkening sugar. Be careful not to let them burn, but don’t be afraid of a deep, caramel-colored butter—the flavor will get more complex as it cooks. When the crumbs have reached a color you like, anywhere from almond brown to dark caramel, between 12 to 20 minutes, transfer to a bowl. They will be very hot. Let cool completely and harden. Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag at room temperature for up to 3 days, chill for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months.
- In a small pot over medium heat, combine the honey and ginger. Cook until the honey turns to a liquid consistency and then simmer for 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat, whisk in the lemon juice, and let cool. Store in a lidded jar, chilled, for up to 1 week.
- Fire the grill to medium heat and position the grill grate 4 inches above the coals.
- Slice the fruit into wedges around the vertical circumference, from stem to tail. Twist each half in opposite directions to open. Remove and compost the pit. If a fruit is too ripe to twist, just remove smaller sections at a time, though you’ll have to be extra careful when grilling to make sure they don’t fall through the grate. Transfer to a large bowl (or even a pot), baking sheet, or plate and toss the fruit with the honey syrup.
- Using tongs, place the fruit flesh-side down on the grill and cook until the flesh is scored with grill marks and charred, about 5 minutes. Flip and grill on the skin side until charred, about 5 minutes more. The longer you grill the fruit, the softer it will become—decide what you prefer!
- Distribute the grilled fruit into each camper’s bowl, drizzle with heavy cream, if desired, and sprinkle the bread crumble over the top. Eat up! This is too good to keep leftovers.
Reprinted with permission from Feast by Firelight, text and illustrations copyright © 2018 by Emma Frisch. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Christina Holmes