Prepared entirely on the grill, this dessert makes the most of the season’s best stone fruit. Grilled peaches over a sweet streusel, topped with butter and honey are a tasty summer dessert.
For living in a landlocked flyover state, I consider myself pretty lucky on the food front. Our wet springs and hot summers make for lush vegetable harvests: I could easily have called this site TomatoAddict, as that’s as accurate a description of me as any. Greater Cincinnati is a suburban/metropolitan region encompassing the corners of three states, surrounded in all directions by fertile farmland. We grow awesome sweet corn. Awesome. (Sorry, Iowa, it’s true.)
I’m not a big fan of seafood — shellfish, yum; fish, eh — so I don’t mourn the absence of the coasts’ fresh catch of the day. Our temperate climate means we can’t grow citrus or pomegranates with any real reliability. A dwarf tree indoors is cool — the yield from a dwarf tree indoors won’t get me to the end of the week. So, that’s a bummer, the citrus.
But, we do have other fruits. Peaches and pears and apples.
Oh, the peaches.
And we have orchardists, like Dennis Sauerhage, who are willing to do the big work of raising and caring for those fickle fruiting trees. Dennis is the owner and proprietor of Backyard Orchard in nearby Rising Sun, Indiana, and each weekend he gathers up the week’s peaches and apples and hauls them out to the rolling hills of my ‘hood (visible in the shot above, over Dennis’s elbow).
Side note: although I don’t enter cooking competitions anymore, there was a stretch of years when I was a regular on the apple pie circuit. I won numerous first place awards, and all of those winning pies used Dennis’s apples. I consider him my lucky pie charm.
In addition to my neighborhood farmers’ market, Dennis also sells his goods at Cincinnati’s famous Findlay Market, located downtown in our historic Over-the-Rhine district.
A friend and fellow Cincinnati food blogger, Bryn Mooth, authored a cookbook last year featuring the vendors and foods of Findlay Market (aptly called, The Findlay Market Cookbook). Dennis was featured, of course, as were his peaches in a recipe that jumped right out at me the moment I turned to its page: grilled peaches with honey.
The technique is marvelously simple: grill peach halves until lightly charred, top with a dab of salted butter, and drizzle with honey. This is a dessert you could easily prepare for a crowd — lots of peaches fit on a grill — and enjoy in front of the fire pit and setting sun, if that’s your thing.
To gild the lily, I served this over a vanilla-sweetened oat streusel that I grilled in a cast iron pan alongside the peaches, and topped with a really good vanilla bean ice cream.
Peach season is sadly winding down – as is summer, boohoo – but I’ve been enjoying my fill while they’ve been deliciously in season. Do try this while the stone fruits are still available. Ice cream is optional, but highly recommended. 🙂
P.S. Bryn’s book – to which I may or may not have contributed a soup recipe – is available onsite at Findlay Market during business hours and on Amazon. Findlay shoppers, you’ll especially enjoy the vendor and chef profiles included with each recipe. For farmers’ market regulars and CSA subscribers in any town, the book is a treasure trove of recipes using all of that beautiful local produce that fills your bag each week.
- 2 peaches sliced in half, pit removed
- neutral oil such as grapeseed, for brushing
- 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean extract or paste
- 1 tablespoon salted butter cut into 4 equal pieces
- honey for drizzling
- vanilla ice cream optional
Prepare grill for direct grilling; preheat to medium-high.
Brush peach halves lightly with oil, and place cut sides down on hot grill. Do not disturb for the first five minutes or so, as they will initially stick to the grill. When the cut sides have charred grill marks, gently turn the peaches and grill for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from heat.
While the peaches grill, add all of the streusel ingredients to a cast iron (or other grill-appropriate pan), stir to mix and place the pan on the grill. As the butter begins to melt, stir the ingredients together until the butter and sugar is melted and coats the oats and flour. Grill until the oats turn golden, then remove from heat.
Divide the streusel over four dessert plates. Place a peach half on top, and add one square of salted butter to the center. Drizzle with honey, and top with ice cream, if using.