Grilled Peaches with Crème Fraîche and Bourbon Glaze

pen and palate grilled peach

illustration: tram nguyen


I have a confession to make: I’m afraid of my grill.

I had originally planned to write this recipe weeks ago, because peaches were everywhere and grilling them seemed like a relatively simple way to enjoy them for dessert. I purchased some bourbon and crème fraîche, and brought home a big sack of plump, ripe, deliciously fragrant peaches. In the back of my mind, I thought about googling “how to light a charcoal grill without blowing anything up or falling off the balcony.” I also thought about making my boyfriend do it. People light grills every day, right? I figured between the two of us—educated, 30-something, grown-ass adults—we could figure it out.

But we never did. The grill sits on this tiny balcony outside of my apartment, an 8’x 4′ sliver of concrete eight stories above ground, and I’m mildly afraid of heights. I’m also, thanks to my grease fire trauma, basically terrified of lighting a fire anywhere near my NYC apartment. Dire mental images of citywide fire disasters, cats trapped on balconies, and angry landlords drifted through my mind. Meanwhile, Rob was out of town for work. So the peaches sat on the counter.

Peaches don’t last that long, and I try not to flagrantly waste good food, so after a few days something had to be done. The fruit had reached a critical point of ripeness, and I was nowhere near starting this dumb grill. So I threw them in the oven (pit the peaches and slice them in half, put a tiny bit of butter and brown sugar in the center, and bake them cut sides up at 375 degrees for 25 minutes) and made my bourbon glaze.

I could have stopped here. The baked peaches were really good! But this felt like a cop-out, and I have a real problem with failure. So I did what any other 31-year-old woman in my position would do: I waited three weeks and then, on vacation with my dad, I made him grill the peaches. Worse: I made him grill them in the dark. When I went down to check on the status of things—I am an expert in “supervising”—he was grilling by candlelight in the black of night, because there were no outdoor lights on the back porch of this beach house we were renting, and the back porch was where the grill was. Dads, amiright? Anyway, it was worth it. (Especially since I didn’t have to face my fears or otherwise make any significant sacrifices.) These peaches rule. Someone please teach me how to light a charcoal grill.


Serves 5

2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp. Bourbon (I recommend “Old Granddad,” because it is called “Old Granddad.”)
¼ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
5 yellow peaches, halved and pitted
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup crème fraîche

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter on medium-low heat. Slowly pour in the brown and white sugar, stirring throughout. Whisk in the bourbon. Let the mixture simmer, whisking constantly, until it has reduced to a thin syrup, about 20 minutes. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Brush the cut sides of the peaches lightly with olive oil. On medium-high heat, grill them, face-down, for 5-7 minutes, until they’re cooked through but still firm. Remove from heat.

Add a dollop of crème fraîche to the center of each peach. Drizzle with the bourbon glaze. Serve and eat immediately.

9 Comments Write a comment

  1. That is a lovely story and an even lovelier recipe! Can you even light your grill on the balcony? In my country you would pay a fine! Do you think prosecco would go instead of bourbon (which I’mnot a huge fan of)?

  2. Thank you, Monika! Hmmm, prosecco and peaches does sound like a good combination, but I’m not sure the prosecco would glaze properly… You could try a drizzle of honey instead?

  3. My boyfriend started the grill last weekend while I rummaged around inside for the sparklers which would add a festive touch to our BBQ. When I went back outside, the grill was sparking like a Roman candle, so I ended up not needing the sparklers. Also, we’ve been meaning to grill peaches for the last three years, but whenever we have a BBQ, we forget to grill the darn peaches. Last weekend was no exception.

  4. I am totally chauvinistic when it comes to grilling: not my domain. Your dad rocks. I’ve been buying peaches by the flat every few days – will get my husband right on grilling some this weekend. Sounds amazing.

  5. I love this story! I just learned to grill this summer out of desperation as my new stove burns everything or doesn’t heat up at all. I hate turning it on-am still scared the flames will get me or my porch will burn down. But, when zucchini calls, the grill goes on. Lady grillers unite! Thanks for sharing.

  6. I second Eleanor’s cheer. You two ladies make one delectable site.

  7. Should I be concerned that it took me a good fifteen seconds to figure out ‘? – 6 = two’ in your captcha?

    Love that you are ‘an expert at supervising’, as am I when it comes to grilling. I love things grilled over charcoal and I hear that those stainless chimneys you can buy make quick work of getting the coals red hot, but I’ve never tried it.

    I’ll keep my eye out for ‘Old Granddad’. ;)

  8. I so desperately want to be that woman who steps forward and owns the grill. I’m just not there yet. I am forced to bake my grilled peaches – in shame.

    Tip: cut in half and fill the cavity with balsamic vinegar. Sounds freaky, but trust me. It borders on the divine.

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