When stone fruit is in season, grilled peaches with a spiced maple glaze make for a quick and easy treat. They can either be a delicious healthy dessert or the star of a fresh summer salad.
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When I’m not making my peach cobbler during the warm months when peaches are ripe and abundant, I like to grill them up. This recipe is very convenient, especially if you already have the barbecue fired up when cooking your main dish. It’s the perfect time to sear the fruit to make a healthy treat to accompany your feast.
I will show you some easy techniques for cutting and preparing the stone fruit. You can cook them on a hot grill or on the stovetop to develop those sought-out char marks. You can brush the pieces lightly with olive oil, but I like to enhance the sweetness with a simple spiced maple glaze that coats the surface. It’s worth the extra effort!
I prefer ripe yellow or white peaches. The thick and sturdy flesh makes them easy to grab and flip on the grill. About 5 to 6 ounces in weight, large peaches are big enough to allow char marks to form without becoming too soft and mushy.
To test for ripeness, give it a light squeeze. It should have a slight give. Too firm, and the texture will be crisp, too ripe, and it will be grainy and fall apart when seared.
Cut the peach in half lengthwise, follow the natural indentation on the surface. Freestone peaches should be easy to rotate the halves in your hands and pull apart.
If it’s difficult to separate, then you probably have the clingstone variety. Once cut, gently pull apart the halves, then use a paring knife to carefully cut the pit away from one side of the flesh. To make smaller servings, cut them into quarters.
How to grill peaches on the barbecue or stovetop
Make sure to brush the cut-sides with olive oil to prevent sticking to the grill grates. If the barbecue is already hot and ready to use, carefully add the pieces to clean and greased grill grates. A charcoal grill will infuse a smoky flavor compared to gas, but both work well.
You can also use a grill pan, making it easy to cook indoors and still achieve the dark lines quickly. Use medium heat for both methods. A preheated surface ensures marks as you only need 2 to 3 minutes to cook each side. I like to press down on the pieces to ensure direct contact. If grilling quarters, sear each side for about 2 minutes.
Make a glaze
By themselves, grilled peaches are delicious, but let’s take it to the next level for a dessert twist. I use everyday kitchen staples like melted butter, ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt to create a sticky glaze. Honey or brown sugar make suitable sweetener substitutes.
After you sear the peach halves on the cut-side, flip them over and generously brush with the maple topping. The flesh will further soften in just a few minutes, and the mixture will create a gorgeous shiny coating. Then right before serving, top with crunchy pecans and fresh mint.
Serve this with
No, overripe fruit already has a soft and mushy texture. When cooked, it will create a jammy sticky consistency, making them prone to falling apart when flipping over.
When lightly brushed with oil for cooking, it makes a more nutritious dessert option. The larger pieces of fruit keep more of the water and fat-soluble nutrients in their cell walls.
The skin’s soft and slightly fuzzy texture contains fiber and antioxidants due to the vibrant color. Keep it on for more nutrition. When left intact for grilling, it makes it much easier to cook. It also helps keep the fruit’s structure and prevents sticking to the hot grates.
Lightly press on the sides of the fruit. There should be a slight give without easily bruising. Ones that feel firm like a baseball are not ready. If they feel very soft and indent easily, they are overripe.
Grease the cut peaches with oil before grilling
Peaches obtain their sweetness mainly from natural sugars in their flesh, predominantly sucrose, glucose, fructose, and sorbitol. When heated, they get sticky and eventually caramelize. To prevent the pieces from adhering to the grill, brush the cut sides and the grates to create a fat barrier and nonstick surface. Wait to add the maple glaze until after flipping to prevent the sugar from burning and causing more sticking issues.
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- 4 ripe peaches, about 6 ounces in weight each
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing the grill
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup pecans, chopped
- 1 tablespoon sliced mint leaves, for garnish
- Wash and dry the peaches. Cut into halves, then remove the pit.
- Brush olive oil over the cut sides.
- Add the butter to a small microwave-safe bowl, heat in 30-second intervals until melted. Whisk in the maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- Clean the grill grates and grease with olive oil. Preheat the grill or grill pan over medium heat. Once the hot, place the peaches cut-side down, lightly press for better contact. Cook until grill marks appear, about 2 to 3 minutes. If cut into quarters, grill the other cut side for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Flip over and generously brush with the maple syrup mixture. Cook until the glaze coats the fruit and the peaches are soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. If desired, brush more glaze on top.
- Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with chopped pecans and mint leaves.
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