Grilled and barbecued autumn fruit with honey sabayon and thyme

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If you're looking to breathe new life into your barbecue repertoire look beyond the usual burgers, steaks and sausages and try Ben Tish's stunning grilled fruit recipe, served with creamy honey sabayon and a sticky thyme syrup. This recipe uses a range of firm autumn fruits, but you could substitute your own seasonal favourites, such as peaches, if making this dish earlier in the year.

First published in 2016

Autumn-time sees an abundance of delicious fruit to enjoy, such as apples, pears and quince. Because these are slightly more robust, they work particularly well grilled on the barbecue. The thyme may seem an unusual edition in a dessert recipe, but its fragrance goes brilliantly with the fruit and sweet honey sabayon.

Recipes extracted from Grill Smoke BBQ by Ben Tish (Quadrille £25) Photography: Kris Kirkham




Autumn vegetables

  • 1 quince, medium sized
  • 1 apple, such as Braeburn, Cox's or Ruben
  • 1 pear, such as Packham, Comice or Anjou
  • 2 plums, such as Victoria, halved and stoned
  • 1/2 lemon

Thyme syrup

Honey sabayon

  • 75ml of honey
  • 1/4 bunch of thyme, leaves picked and stalks reserved
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 50ml of Marsala wine


Light the barbecue and set for direct cooking
Wrap the quince in foil. When the coals are ashen-grey, use long-handled tongs to carefully nestle the parcel into them, making sure it’s fully covered with the coals and ash. Close the lid and leave for 40 minutes or until cooked
Quarter the apple and pear, core them and squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over them, rubbing it over the cut surfaces to prevent them from turning brown. Spread out the apple, pear and plums on a large plate and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to dry them slightly
Meanwhile, make the thyme syrup. Pour the honey, water and thyme into a small pan. Bring to the boil over low–medium heat on the stovetop and simmer for 5 minutes to infuse, then set aside
For the sabayon, whisk together the egg yolks, Marsala, honey and thyme leaves in a large heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water.
Whisk the sabayon mixture continuously (hand-held electric beaters are good for this) until the mixture thickens and increases in volume; it’s important to keep whisking, so the mixture doesn’t ‘cook’ on the base of the bowl, scrambling the egg yolks. When it’s ready, the sabayon should be light, pale and airy. Reserve and keep warm
Brush the apple, pear and plums with the thyme syrup. Throw the reserved thyme stalks onto the charcoal to smoke, place the fruit on the grill and close the lid of the barbecue
Cook for 5 minutes or until lightly charred, then turn over and brush with more thyme syrup. Cook the plums for a further 3 minutes, and the apple and pear for about 5 minutes, or until they are all soft and charred
Meanwhile, check that the quince is cooked through and tender – a knife should glide in without any resistance – then leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing the foil. Cut the quince into quarters and remove the core with a small knife or spoon, then drizzle the quince quarters with thyme syrup
If the skin of the fruit looks overly charred, just peel it off. Serve with the sabayon and any remaining thyme syrup

Ben Tish is the chef-director of The Stafford London. His latest book, Moorish, celebrates the flavours of Sicily and other parts of the Mediterranean.

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