Grilled Peaches with Salted Caramel Sauce
Peaches love to be grilled. The loss of moisture makes them meaty, the slight char gives their natural floral scent an extra depth, and the heat softens the fruit, making them easier to eat without their juice squirting out with each bite. Be sure to use freestone peaches so the halves will separate easily from the stone when cut and twisted. Serve this dessert by itself, or use the peaches and caramel sauce to top pound cake, gingerbread or a big scoop of salted caramel ice cream.
- 1 1/4 cups (10 oz./315 g) sugar
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) heavy cream
- 1 Tbs. bourbon
- 4 large, ripe freestone peaches
- Smoked flake salt, such as Maldon Smoked Sea Salt, for sprinkling
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and 3 Tbs. water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil and cook, without stirring, until the mixture turns an amber color, about 5 minutes. Very carefully pour in the cream; the mixture will boil vigorously and release steam. When the steam subsides, stir the mixture until smooth. Stir in the bourbon, transfer to a heatproof container and let cool.
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill (400° to 450°F/200°to 230°C).
Brush the grill grate and coat with oil. Halve the peaches from the stem end to the blossom end and twist the halves in opposite directions to separate. Remove and discard the pits. Brush the peach halves all over with some of the caramel. Put the halves, cut side down, on the grate and cook, turning once, until nicely grilled marked on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Transfer the peach halves, cut side up, to individual plates, placing 2 halves on each plate. Drizzle with the remaining caramel and top with a sprinkle of smoked salt. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Grill School (Weldon Owen, 2016)