Firing up the grill this weekend? Add some sweetness to your summer celebration by keeping the coals hot all the way through the dessert course.
In his new cookbook, Green Fire: Extraordinary Ways to Grill Fruits and Vegetables, chef Francis Mallmann does just that. And while grill enthusiasts may be familiar with zucchini spears and mushroom skewers, this Argentinian chef, a master of live fire cooking takes it to the next level.
New to fire-cooked fruits? His burnt cherries with ice cream isn’t too difficult to master and can easily serve — and impress — a crowd.
“This is part performance art and part dessert,” says Mallmann of this dessert. “I enjoy making this, eating it, and most of all beholding the looks of astonishment from guests as I place a hot cast-iron skillet on a bowl full of ice cream topped with sugar-dusted cherries. Everyone holds their breath as I wield the hot iron. Trepidation gives way to smiles, as the sweet clouds of burnt sugar, singed ripe cherries, and vanilla notes of the ice cream meet. Few things are certain in this life—the impact of this dessert is one of them.”
Made to order and adaptable for vegans (plant-based ice cream works too), this four ingredient cherry treat is about to become your summer staple.
And to prep like a pro, use pot holders. Seriously.
Burnt Cherries and Ice Cream
2 pints (946 ml) vanilla ice cream
10 ounces (280 g) cherries, halved and pitted
4 tablespoons sugar, plus more if needed
A handful of fresh mint leaves, for garnish
At least 8 hours before serving, pack the ice cream into a 5-cup (1 L) heatproof and freezer-safe serving bow lor other container, cover, and place in the freezer.
Half an hour before serving, take the bowl of ice cream out of the freezer so the ice cream softens a little.
Combine the cherries and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl to macerate.
Prepare a fire for medium-high heat, set a grate over it, and heat a cast-iron skillet on the grate. If cooking indoors, heat it on the stovetop over medium-high heat.
Arrange the cherries in a layer on top of the ice cream and sprinkle them evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
Using a heavy-duty pot holder, position the hot skillet over the cherries and lower it onto them for about 10 seconds, or until the sugar melts and caramelizes the cherries. Set the hot pan aside.
The caramelized cherries will melt into the ice cream and soften it enough to scoop it into individual serving bowls. Garnish with the mint.