Cheesecake Crème– or CC, as she prefers to be called– spent most of her life as the sweet center of attention, the star attraction in gorgeous fruit parfaits. She was accustomed to life in the finest wine goblets, surrounded by admiring berry fans. Her berries knew that merely being seen with her, merely laying themselves in her glow, enhanced their own status in the world. Around her, they felt more beautiful, more desired, more loved.
For years, CC graciously gave herself to the berries; after all, without them, she wasn’t sure who she would be. She knew herself only through their eyes; she measured her self-worth and importance by their desire to be with her. Until the day she began to wonder.
It happened at a dessert buffet. All around her were brownies and cakes– the usual celebrity crowd. But off on one side, half hidden in the shadow of the punch urn, was a platter of simple grilled stone fruit. She was mesmerized. The fruit, completely undressed, was luscious, compelling in its natural beauty. Oh, how she longed to be like that peach, its juices oozing from skin that could barely contain its flesh! She wanted to be free from the trappings of her goblet, from the fawning sugared berries that surrounded her. She wanted to live simply, naturally– exquisitely, like the peach.
And so it was. She left her goblet and found comfort in the waiting well of the peach. She nestled in, content to feel the slight warmth of him beneath her and to breathe deeply of the wide open freedom above. In time, she learned to marry the two worlds: she returned to the glitzy world of the parfait when the urge for excitement hit, and after a little while, always came back to the quiet, simple and oh-so-rich world she now called home.
Grilled Peaches with Cheesecake Crème and Blueberry Sauce
This is three recipes in one– if you call instructions for grilling peaches a recipe. The other two, though, truly are recipes. The simple blueberry sauce is lovely on ripe summer peaches, but also over yogurt or ice cream. The cheesecake crème can be dolloped on fresh or grilled fruit, or layered in a wine goblet with sliced macerated fruit and crumbled graham cracker crumbs.
This recipe makes more than enough blueberry sauce and cheesecake crème for the four peaches, but you will never regret having leftovers. Both keep well in the refrigerator for a week.
1 1/2 cups blueberries
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
4 peaches, cut in half (pit removed)
6 ounces Neufchatel cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Combine the blueberries, granulated sugar and nutmeg in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons water; bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until about half the berries burst. Mash the mixture lightly with the back of a spoon and allow it to cool in the saucepan.
2. Meanwhile, brush the grill rack with oil or coat with cooking spray. Light the grill for direct heat cooking. Brush the peaches lightly with canola (or other flavorless) oil or coat them lightly with cooking spray. Place the peaches cut side down on the grill; cook until they are well marked on the underside and readily release from the grill rack. Turn and cook 1 minute; transfer to a platter and allow to cool.
3. Use an electric (hand or stand) mixer to beat the Neufchatel, sour cream and yogurt until smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth and fluffy. (Cover and refrigerate if you are not using it right away.)
4. Arrange the peaches cut side up on individual plates or a platter. Place a dollop of the cheesecake creme on each peach half and drizzle with the blueberry sauce.