Grilling a piece of fresh fruit adds char, dimension, and flavour. The heat gets those juices flowing while the grates caramelize and scorch the sugars — something that’s particularly welcome if you’re dealing with a subpar peach or a not-quite-ripe nectarine.
Grilled fruit is most easily achieved if you already own a grill, but a waffle maker works pretty well in a pinch (or apartment). Though it won’t impart the exact same flavour as charcoal, the hot waffle iron plates create pockets of charred sugar and flavour, much like scorching grill grates. The fruit is rendered warm and juicy — perfect for a bowl or ice cream or cocktail.
You can “grill” peaches, pineapple, and mango this way, or any firm fruit that won’t fall apart under a fair amount of stress. (I would avoid berries entirely.) It is, however, quite important you start with a clean, grease free waffle maker, otherwise the sweet, ripe flavour of your fruit could be overwhelmed by — I don’t know — SPAM or something. So clean it well, and maybe waffle something sweet beforehand, like a Honeybun or a piece of poundcake.
To waffle fruit, simple place the slices in the waffle maker, and close it, but don’t press down at first. (The back portion of the waffle maker is where the action is, so place a few slice back there, rather than scattering them evenly across the entire iron.) Once the fruit has warmed and has started to give a little, gently press down for about 10 seconds, then check the state of the fruit and give it another (gentle) press until the fruit takes on the amount of char you desire. Repeat until you are out of fruit, then serve on slices of cake, with bowls of whipped or iced cream, wrapped in prosciutto, or by itself with a little brown sugar.
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