These grilled peaches with honey and black pepper are an easy summer dessert that caramelizes the natural sweetness of stone fruits and turns them tender and soft and juxtaposes all that with the warmth of freshly ground black pepper.
Too sweltering to bake pie? Want to switch it up from plain peaches? Need to heighten the flavor of not-quite-perfectly-ripe stone fruit? Enter the heat of the grill. It coaxes the sugars to caramelize and the fruit to soften and lends an almost otherworldly effect to even the most luscious of stone fruits.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Grilled Peaches with Honey and Black Pepper
- Prepare a grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-high heat. Oil the grill grate.
☞TESTER TIP: Take some extra time to make sure the surface of your grill is very clean. Nothing ruins grilled fruit faster than bits of last night’s salmon stuck to it.
- In a small bowl, combine the honey, a pinch of salt, and pepper.
- Brush the peach halves with oil and place them on the grill rack, cut-side down. Close the lid and cook until the peaches just begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Turn the peaches and brush with the honey mixture. Cook until tender but not falling apart, 3 to 4 minutes more.
- Serve right away, accompanied by a dollop of yogurt, cream, or ice cream, if desired.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This was a great summer dessert. I’ve never thought to use salt and pepper coupled with honey on grilled fruit. Honey, yes. But not the salt and pepper. I used coarse Hawaiian Sea Salt and the little pops of crunch with the salty punch was amazing.
I used yellow peaches, they were a bit under ripe but the flavor was good and grilling them softened them up. The timing was right on for the fruit, any longer and I think they would have ended up on the mushy side. I used all the honey, some of it was pooling in the well formed by the peach pit. We ate them with vanilla ice cream.
This recipe was super easy to prepare. I had some of the best Fay Alberta peaches from a local orchard that I’ve ever tasted. I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to sacrifice them to a recipe experiment, but boy, I’m sure glad I did. They were outstanding. I served them with frozen vanilla yogurt, which took them over the top. We had 2 other and the 4 of us had no trouble polishing off 4 peaches. We loved the slightly smokey flavor and the sweetness from the honey, and then the surprise spicy kick from the pepper.
We grilled the peaches on a gas grill (medium) for 4 minutes flesh side down and 3 minutes flesh side up which seemed perfect. They were soft but not mushy. It’s very important to have a really clean grill, otherwise your peaches might taste like last night’s hamburgers. I used really fresh ground pepper from Penzeys. Actually think I might have added maybe an additional 1/4 teaspoon for a bit more spice.
Served 4 because no one would be happy with just half a peach!
There’s something about peak summer peaches that reminds me of my childhood. Sinking my teeth into the stone fruit’s flesh instantly brings me back to road trips to Long Island’s North Fork for prime peach picking while Presidents of the United States of America blared from my family’s car radio. I haven’t had that moment that often this summer because peach season comes and goes quickly when you’re relying on your farmers market’s limited bounty during a pandemic. Fortunately, I got to see my parents for the first time in almost six months this week, and they live within close proximity to multiple farm stands overflowing with near-ripe peaches. That, plus having access to their brand-new Weber grill, persuaded me to grill them up some peaches to thank them for letting me escape NYC for a few days.
Onto the recipe itself! If you’re looking for a simple, no-frills dessert that’s sure to impress, this. is. IT. The most work I had to put into this is finding a bottle of honey hiding in the depths of my parents’ cabinet and adjusting the grill to the perfect medium-high temperature. My dad initially thought brushing the halved peaches with freshly grounded salt and pepper was a strange move. The subtle, spiced, savory notes paired brilliantly with the peach’s natural nectary juices, though, and I converted him to the pairing pretty easily.
The warm grill marks also allowed the honey to caramelize deep within the flesh while the skin side was over the flames, which added a pleasant complexity to tie it all together. The texture itself was just about as perfect as you could get. While I bought my peaches when they were nearly ripe, the open flames cooked the semi-firm interior down to a lovely tenderness that was just right.
My dad’s only commentary to make this dessert perfect was adding a bit of ground cinnamon to the honey-black pepper mix. The suggestion was purely sentimental, though, because he said cinnamon and peaches remind him of a peach pie I regularly made during the summer when I lived closer to them. Other than that, being able to cook them something special during such a troubling time made it feel like we were back in the good old days. Well, almost…
A sprinkling of ground cinnamon to enhance the black pepper’s spiciness and a dollop of whipped cream because who doesn’t love peaches and cream?”
This is a straightforward recipe that makes the most of summer stone fruit if you don’t want to eat it by just biting into it. I happened to get some really special peaches which were a Prime deal at Whole Foods (of all places!). These are from a grower in CA who charges more than just about anyone else does for whatever he is selling. The only reason I purchased them was because they were basically giving them away and I couldn’t resist.
That being said, this recipe would take any fruit, and elevate it, so folks can take that in mind when purchasing fruit for this recipe.
We ate ours with coffee bean blast ice cream and warm whipped half-and-half. The contrast between the warmth of the peaches and whipped-half-and-half and ice cream was wonderful.
That same day I served the grilled peaches with some homemade vegan vanilla coconut ice cream. My God! That was a super hit! I’ve never tried adding pepper to stone fruits before but it is such a great addition! I think I’ll do that from this day on, because it was so good. Just that tiny bit of heat with the little acidity and sweetness from the fruit plus the creaminess of the ice cream, it was just as I imagined it. A perfect combination!
Originally published September 04, 2020