During the summer, we seem to eat as much fresh fruit as humanly possible. With all of the local crops at their peak freshness, and all of our favorite fruits on sale, it seems a shame to let all of that delicious, limited-time produce go to waste. While my family loves pies and cobblers and muffins, sometimes I want to make a dish that doesn’t involve my oven – one that lets the fruit speak for itself. That’s when I pull out this old favorite – a modern twist on peaches and cream, involving grilled peaches and some spectacular toppings.Jump to Recipe
This recipe is gluten-free, delightfully variable, and requires minimal kitchen time to produce a gourmet-feeling dessert. While it does help if you have access to a gas grill, that is not a requirement. You can also use the British version of “grill” – your oven’s broiler – to obtain the same perfect, slightly caramelized result. You can also make the sauce and mascarpone ahead of time, and then allow your guests to top their freshly-caramelized peaches with however much of the toppings they prefer.
So, what are the toppings? First, we have a vanilla mascarpone whipped topping. While you could easily substitute whipped cream or ice cream, the mascarpone has a sturdiness that you won’t find in either of those alternatives. Similar to cream cheese, mascarpone is technically a sweet, creamy cheese with a high butterfat content. Cream cheese, mascarpone’s cousin, is made from whole milk and has a 33% milk fat content; it is slightly hard and notably tangy. Mascarpone, on the other hand, is made from heavy cream and has a whopping 55% milk fat content – making it much sweeter and creamier than its more American cousin. Mascarpone is the creamy base used in authentic tiramisu, and it will add a creamy, light, and refined flavor to this dessert.
Our other topping is a legendary bourbon caramel sauce. When first making this recipe, we added ingredients haphazardly, cooking from our hearts. In attempting to write down the recipe for this blog, we were a little bit astonished – there is way more bourbon in this sauce than we realized – and that’s what makes it taste so awesome.
In comparing it with a few other recipes available online, we tried making this sauce with non-alcoholic alternatives, or with a smaller amount of bourbon. While yes, you do still get a sweet and pleasant caramel sauce, it truly is not the same without the full 2 ounces (yes, ounces, not tablespoons) of bourbon. Even using the cheapest bourbon on the shelf, it adds a richness and complexity to the sauce that we struggled to achieve any other way. Fortunately, the aggressive bite of the bourbon diminishes as the sauce cooks down; you are welcome to cook this sauce longer than recommended if you want to further diminish the alcohol content.
The vanilla mascarpone topping requires only 3 ingredients – and I’m willing to bet you can guess two of them. Yep, mascarpone cheese and vanilla bean paste are the two stars. You will also need some brown sugar to lend a note of sweetness. If you can’t find mascarpone cheese at your grocery, or if it is prohibitively expensive, cream cheese would be an acceptable substitute. It would make the recipe more tangy, but adding a bit of extra sugar would help to balance out the substitution.
For the bourbon caramel sauce, you will need unsalted butter, brown sugar, heavy cream, salt, ground cinnamon, and – you guessed it – bourbon. The brand of bourbon you use doesn’t really matter; even the cheap stuff will lend a nice flavor. If you aren’t a bourbon drinker but still want to make this recipe, you can purchase one of the mini bottles often available at liquor stores or gas stations. They usually contain 50mL (1.7 ounces) of the spirit; this is slightly less than the recipe calls for, but it would still produce a delicious final sauce.
And, of course, you need peaches. There is no need to peel your peaches for this recipe; just wash them, cut them in half, and remove the pits. Try to use the freshest peaches you can; ideally they will be ripe and soft, neither overly firm nor mushy. Let your firm peaches rest on the counter for a few days, and save your overly-soft peaches for a pie.
Let’s start with the mascarpone cream! Using an electric mixer, beat together the sugar, vanilla bean paste, and mascarpone cheese. One all three ingredients are completely combined, set aside or refrigerate. You can make this up to 2 days ahead of time; it will stay fresh if kept in an airtight container in the fridge.
Bourbon Caramel Sauce
When making your bourbon caramel sauce, start by melting the butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and allow it to dissolve. Then, slowly whisk in the heavy cream
Once your mixture is thoroughly combined, stir in the bourbon and salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir constantly to avoid burning. If you would like to cook off more alcohol, allow to simmer for a longer period. Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat.
I recommend making this bourbon sauce on the same day you serve your peaches. You can save leftovers for later, but if you do so, make sure you re-heat the sauce in the microwave. The butter will become solid when at refrigerator temperatures, and this is supposed to be a liquid sauce, after all.
Grilling the peaches
Finally – it’s time for the star of the show. Wash your peaches before slicing them in half and removing their pits. Brush each half with melted butter and place facedown on a gas grill turned to medium heat. Close the lid and allow the peaches to cook until warmed through with obvious char marks (5-8 minutes). Your peaches should become slightly softer in the cooking process.
If broiling your peaches, place them face-up in the oven after they have been brushed with melted butter. Broil on high for up to 5 minutes, watching them closely; remove them once the butter has begun to caramelize.
Serve this dish while the peaches are still warm. Top each peach with a dollop of mascarpone and drizzle with bourbon sauce. (If you’re feeing generous, take both ingredients to the table and allow your guests to dollop with their own preferred amounts. You might not have much left by the end of the night!)
Once the mascarpone meets the warm peach and warm bourbon sauce, it will start to melt, producing a sweet puddle in the heart of each peach that is tasty to the last drop. Hopefully you made extra – because your guests are going to be begging for seconds.
Whether you’re preparing these peaches for a large group or just as a tasty treat for your family, they are sure to be a hit. If you want to save this recipe for later, click the “Pin It” button at the top to save to a Pinterest board. If you have questions or if you want to show off your own homemade version, feel free to tag @WhiskAverseBaking on social media or leave a message in the comments below.
Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Mascarpone Cream and Bourbon Caramel Sauce
- 5-6 fresh peaches
- 2 tablespoons butter mlted
- 1 tub Mascarpone cheese
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla bean paste
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 2 oz bourbon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Using an electric mixer, beat together the granulated sugar, vanilla bean paste, and mascarpone cheese. One all three ingredients are completely combined, set aside or refrigerate.
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in brown sugar and allow to dissolve.
- Slowly whisk in heavy cream before adding bourbon and salt.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until thickened, 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly to avoid burning.
- Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat.
- Slice peaches in half. Brush each half with melted butter and place facedown on a grill turned to medium heat. Close lid; cook until warmed through and with obvious char marks (5-8 minutes).
- Top each peach with a dollop of mascarpone and drizzle with bourbon sauce. Serve warm.