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When it comes to “manning” the grill, few do it better than Melissa Cookston, owner of the South’s hottest restaurant group, Memphis Barbecue Co. For Melissa, mother’s day starts with a perfectly grilled ribeye and smoked Vidalia onions (the recipe for which can be found in her book) and ends with one of her favorite desserts, grilled cayenne peaches.
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- 4 peaches
- 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Teaspoon cayenne
- Whipped cream for serving
7 Healthy Ways to Grill Fresh Fruit Before the End of Summer
I’ve always loved to cook but I struggled for a very long time with identifying what produce was native to which season. Grocery stores often carry products out of their peak growing period, making it hard to figure out which products actually belong in your fridge during which time of year. Once I started shopping locally and going to greenmarkets, however, I learned all about what produce is best to eat during what season.
During the summer, stands are filled with juicy tomatoes, spicy arugula, creamy avocadoes, tender zucchini and sweet corn. More recently, however, I've been appreciating the many berries, stone fruits and melons that decorate the market tables. And, as a result, I’ve been buying peaches, plums, raspberries and strawberries like it’s my day job! I’ve been tossing them in olive oil, salt and pepper, then throwing them on a grill pan (I wish I had a real grill, but that’s definitely a violation of my lease!). The fruit caramelizes beautifully, sweetens up really nicely and perfectly pairs with a wide array of sweet and savory flavors.
If you haven’t grilled fruit before, you’re going to want to before summer is officially over. The following recipes are a perfect place to start your own fruit adventures, but be sure to adapt them to your tastes, preferences and what’s available at your local market!
When it comes to summer, two things always come to mind: watermelon and grilling. So, why not combine the two and have the most summery dish possible? Bursting with sweet, juicy grilled watermelon, fresh blueberries, chopped mint, balsamic vinegar and crumbled feta cheese, this salad is filled with salty, sweet, acidic and fresh flavors, resulting in a refreshing summertime side that works well for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert.
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- ¾ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black peppercorns
- 2 large fresh peaches with peel, halved and pitted
- 2 ½ ounces blue cheese, crumbled
In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the white sugar, balsamic vinegar, and pepper. Simmer until liquid has reduced by one half. It should become slightly thicker. Remove from heat, and set aside.
Preheat grill for medium-high heat.
Lightly oil the grill grate. Place peaches on the prepared grill, cut side down. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the flesh is caramelized. Turn peaches over. Brush the top sides with the balsamic glaze, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the peach halves to individual serving dishes, and drizzle with remaining glaze. Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese.
Nothing beats a ripe, sticky-sweet peach. And while you can just bite right in, cooking with peaches is killer. Obviously you can bake with them: peach cobbler, peach pie, peach pound cake. Peaches are also great in savory dishes, like grilled pork chops or a fresh salsa. When peaches are in season&mdashfrom May to September, peaking in July and August&mdashone of the best ways to eat them is grilled.
How to Pick Peaches For Grilling
Before grilling, be sure to pick the best you can find. Take a peek at the top where the stem used to be: if it&rsquos golden or white (not green) and starting to wrinkle, that peach is ready to be eaten. Optimal peaches are also found at farmers markets during summer. When you squeeze the peaches they should still be a little firm if you want to grill them. Softer peaches, mean that its more ripe and the sugars from riper peaches will caramelize too quickly on the grill and burn.
How To Serve Grilled Peaches
Grilled peaches can be served solo, but a drizzle of honey, olive oil, and sea salt will really bring out their flavor. To kick things up a notch, add freshly whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, mascarpone, or ricotta, and a handful of torn mint.
Craving more summery sweets? Check out our 20+ easy peach desserts. If you tried grilling these peaches, let us know how it went in the comments below!
How to Grill Peaches
To grill the peaches simply brush the grates lightly with oil and preheat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Cut your peaches in half and remove the pits, brush the cut side of the peach with oil and grill for 5 minutes. It’s really that easy! This simple tips below will help you ensure perfectly grilled peaches every time.
Use Fresh and Ripe Peaches for Grilling
One of the biggest, and most frustrating, challenges I had in this recipe was getting great peaches. If a peach is not ripe, it is very hard to pit and keep the nice peach halves you want for grilling. Ideally, you want peaches that you can easily pit and cut into two halves.
Grilled Peaches Temp and Time
The key to nicely grilled peaches is making sure they don’t stick to the grill. This means a light coating of olive oil is in order. Then you just grill them for 5-7 minutes. I personally just leave them face down as I don’t feel it’s necessary to flip them. This also keeps the skins from sticking to the grill. You want your grill at about 400°F and I use slightly indirect heat so you get nice grill marks without too much char on the fruit.
Since I don't add a sweetener, you'll only need two ingredients to make this delicious summer dessert. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Fresh peaches: It's best to use ripe-yet-firm peaches in this recipe. You don't want them too soft.
Melted unsalted butter: I love using creamy European butter, and I'm obsessed with Kerrygold butter, but honestly, any butter will be great here.
Grilled Peaches Recipe Tips
- Get your peaches ahead of time. Whenever I go to the farmers market or grocery store looking for perfect peaches, the ones I find are always rock-hard or too mushy. If you want to make great grilled peaches, buy your fruit a few days in advance and let it ripen on your counter. When the peaches are soft, you’re ready to grill! (After they ripen, you can also store them in the fridge for up to a few days.)
- Serve them hot. Grilled peaches are best hot from the grill, when they’re juicy and tender. Grill them to order if you can, but if you have leftovers, don’t let them go to waste! Enjoy them with the same toppings for dessert the next day, or slice them and pile them onto oatmeal, overnight oats, or chia pudding for breakfast. They’d also be a great addition to a salad or cheese plate – try using them instead of the fresh peaches in this panzanella, this slaw, or this burrata recipe.
Old-Fashioned Grilled Peach Pie Recipe
Cut butter into 1/2 inch cubes and refrigerate. Measure the water and refrigerate. In a small mixing bowl add flour and salt and mix well. Add in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Slowly add water, mixing continuously, until a dough ball is formed. Seal the dough ball in plastic wrap (such as Glad ClingWrap) and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Sprinkle countertop or cutting board generously with flour. Remove dough from the refrigerator and place onto the floured prep area, roll out to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut the dough into five to six inch diameter circles. Removing extra dough from the prep area to re-roll and make more pie shells. Immediately peal, lift and flip the dough circles making sure they don't stick. Yield should be eight pie shells.
Preheat the grill (preferably using Kingsford charcoal), until the internal temperature reaches 400°.
In a small bowl add the sugar rub ingredients and mix well.
Remove the pit from the peaches and cut each peach into eight wedges and remove skin. Generously coat the peach wedges with the sugar rub mix. Immediately place the peaches on the grill grate for two minutes on each side, or until they caramelize. Remove the peaches from the grill and dice them into 1/2 inch pieces. Place the peaches and butter into a medium mixing bowl. When the butter melts, add the brown sugar and flour and mix well. Stir in orange juice.
Place two heaping tablespoons of peach filling onto the center of each circle of dough. Lightly moisten the edges of the dough with water. Fold the dough in half creating a half moon with peach filling. Gently press the pie edges together and crimp them with a fork. Prep the charcoal grill grate by using a grill brush and to brush on a light coat of oil. Transfer the pies to the grill and cook over direct heat, uncovered, for three minutes on each side or until the dough turns a crispy golden brown. Remove from the grill and serve.
What Else Can You Do With Grilled Peaches?
Grilling peaches brings out the sugars, making them even sweeter than they already are. They naturally lend themselves well to desserts, sweet fruit salsas, and even cocktails. Here is a grilled peach cocktail that has a hot summer evening written all over it.
Grilled Peach and Bourbon Cocktail
- 1/2 Grilled peach, sliced into 4 wedges
- 2 tsps sugar (or simple syrup)
- 2 Leaves of fresh mint + 1 for garnish
- 2 Dashes of angostura bitters
- 2 tsps fresh lemon juice (meyer lemon juice is preferable)
- 2 Ounces of good bourbon
1. Prepare the peaches as described in the Basic Grilled Peaches Recipe. Slice half a peach into 4 wedges.
2. Muddle 2 of the peach wedges with the sugar, 2 mint leaves, angostura bitters, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker or mortar and pestle. Add the bourbon and shake or stir to just mix. Pour into a glass filled to the top with ice. Garnish with 2 peach wedges and a mint leaf.