Kathleen Rogers, a graduate of Johnson & Wales culinary school, who was the food stylist for the pictures in Nathalie Dupree's "Shrimp & Grits Cookbook," adapted this from a recipe that she found in Food and Wine magazine. It can be made with any berry or soft-flesh fruit.
2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup stone-ground grits
4 cups hot water
6 ripe peaches
For the berry sauce:
1 pint fresh raspberries or strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Put the milk in a heavy- bottomed saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the milk. Add the vanilla bean and sugar. Stir and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean.
Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the grits and stir for 5 minutes. Whisk in the hot water. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the grits have thickened, 20 to 30 minutes. Reheat the milk and whisk it into the grits. Cook the grits over low heat, stirring frequently, until they thicken, about 20 to 30 more minutes.
Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until chilled.
To make the sauce:
Heat the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat until the berry juices flow and the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until chilled.
Slice the peaches right before assembling the parfaits. Layer fresh peach slices, grits and raspberry sauce into parfait or wine glasses and serve.