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grilled peaches with lemongrass & ginger syrup

In desserts, gluten free, late summer, syrups and cordials on 5 March, 2011 at 12:48 am

Feels like summer came and went in the blink of an eye. A weird, wet, muggy blink of an eye. I was going to say it still feels like summer (it’s plenty warm enough), but there’s no denying the gradual arrival of crisp mornings and cool nights, new season apples and pears slowly creeping their way onto supermarket shelves.

And in this last gasp of (technically not-) summer it feels like a race to do everything you won’t be able to do for another year. Like wearing shorts, even if you have to wear a jumper on top. Going for that last, end-of-summer swim before the water gets too cold (though in Wellington it’s pretty much too cold even in summer!). Shooting hoops at Waitangi Park. Drinking Pimm’s in the afternoon sun, taking walks after dinner, eating as many berries as possible and gorging yourself on stonefruit. Each day is tinged with this subtle sense of urgency: get in while you can.

And while yes, it’s true, the juicy and succulent fruits of summer are slowly making way for the crisp and autumnal, there’s still plenty of peaches left to devour. For the next couple weeks, at least.

I think peaches (and, I suppose, nectarines) are by far my favourite fruit, though of course this thinking is clouded by the fact that I get really excited about whatever fruit’s in season and I’m sure this will change as soon as I take my first bite of a sweet, meltingly ripe pear, or a crisp apple (I’ve resisted thus far in a sort of denial that summer’s over).

But I think that claim of favourite fruit has a little more basis than just the ohmygod-it’s-in-season-and-there’s-nothing-more-delicious mania I’m sometimes prone to. One of my favourite childhood memories is of a trip to Michigan in late August when I was maybe seven or eight, and I don’t remember much except the showers at the place we stayed smelled like rust, the beach was full of flies and – and – we visited peach orchards, eating perfect peach after perfect peach and taking more home in brown paper bags (to help them ripen). Our kitchen for the week or so afterwards had the faint, alluring aroma of ripening peaches.

I always have such good intentions when I buy peaches, planning to make this or that recipe, but usually I can only get so far as rinsing them off before I find myself eating them, standing over the kitchen sink, juices running down my chin, hand, dripping off my elbow. Messy, but there’s really nothing that tastes more magnificent.

Maybe the reason I never make it past the sink is because I sometimes find when peaches are cooked they lose some of that shockingly juicy-sweet quality I can’t get enough of.

Recently, though,  I’ve made an exception for grilled peaches. Somehow they manage to keep that juicy, sweet, meltingly soft quality, with the added bonus of getting all caramelised and intensely good. I served them with the lemongrass & ginger syrup I’ve been making, which I highly recommend – it adds a bit of freshness and tang to cut through the sticky sweetness.

This is probably too obvious to even be a recipe (seems to be a theme in some of my recent posts, but I guess that’s what you want when it’s summer and you’d rather be outside than in the kitchen) but I wanted to post it before summer slips out of reach until the end of the year. I encourage you to try it with the lemongrass & ginger syrup if you can.


Halve 2 peaches*; remove the stones.** Place on a hot BBQ, grill pan or place under the grill in the oven**, cut side facing the heat source. Grill for 5-10 minutes (depending on your grilling implement) until the surface is caramelised and the peach halves are tender and warmed all the way through. Top with vanilla ice cream and a liberal pour of lemongrass + ginger syrup (recipe here).**** If you garnish it with a mint sprig it’ll be extra pretty (and it goes well with the other flavours). Watch as the ice cream melts into the grooves of the hot peach and drips down the sides and forms molten pools of amazing with the syrup. Or just eat.

*For this I used both white-fleshed peaches and Golden Taturas. Both were delicious. Use any peaches you like. Nectarines will also do.

**If your peaches are super ripe, you shouldn’t need to do this, but if they’re a bit firm or you’re keen for more caramelisation (OK, who isn’t) you could sprinkle the cut side with a bit of demerara sugar before grilling. I didn’t do this, and found it sweet and caramelly enough.

***I used a panini grill flipped upside down and kept open, because at that stage I couldn’t be bothered going downstairs to turn on the BBQ or look for the grill pan… lazy, or innovative? Your call…

****I suppose you could also make some other sort of glaze, or use another syrup, or even scoop a fresh passionfruit over the top. Which reminds me, passionfruit…!

  1. Love the way you grilled the peaches and a perfect dessert when one wants a hot dessert. Your ginger syrup is actually quite healthy – inflammatory and more. Do check out my article on ginger () and leave a link to this recipe to share with my readers. I cannot cook and have no idea how to make such a delicious food.

  2. Summer on a plate, looks delicious…I seem to have been on a frenzy of bottling a little of summer to have through winter…the jars of jams, jellies & chutneys is growing at quite an alarming rate!

  3. Yes, I’ve made this with nectarines. I like it cause it’s so simple and delicious… Ah Summer !

  4. You had me at peaches & ginger! Adding lemongrass is genius! Mmm, my parents will love this too, their peach trees are exploding at the moment. Cheers!

  5. This whole thing is making me want stonefruit sooooo bad. I hear ya on the urgency. Wellington summer is so fleeting.

    Also, I never use my panini press thing for paninis (I don’t think I’ve had a panini since maybe 2003 anyway) but it’s so very handy for grilling vegetables and things. I’ve even made grilled polenta in it pretty successfully.

  6. Pursuenatural- thanks, hehe, I will keep that in mind when eating this again – it’s practically health food!

    Mairi- I’m so impressed by your bottling. I keep buying things to preserve but end up eating them all! That said, I have done a bit of jam-making this year…

    Vanille- yes, so good with nectarines as well :) I hope summer makes one last appearance before we settle into months of this rainy cold weather!

    Zo- I’m so jealous of your parents. Or pretty much anyone with any type of fruit tree (all I have is a very temperamental little lime tree that doesn’t produce any fruit).

    Laura- I’d never actually used our panini press before this. It’s one of those mysteriously owner-less appliances that was in our flat before we moved in… good to know it has multiple uses! Oo grilled polenta…

  7. Stone fruit envy, argh. All I have here is onions…and even those are looking a little shrivelled, woe is me ;P Like your reminiscence about visiting Michigan, I’d love to visit the US – I remember my ojiichan used to wrap every single peach on his tree in paper bags so the insects wouldn’t get them and they were always just perfect.

  8. Those peaches look (and sound) so good. Thanks for the reminder that the stone fruit is fleeting, and so is summer — a peach on the barbeque is such a fitting way to eek out what’s left of summer. Pears will be next, and I thing they’d be good grilled too.

  9. Sasa- Oh man, you’re so lucky to have an ojiichan who had a peach tree. I remember the peaches in Japan tasting out-of-this-world. And perfect too… I’m not surprised that he wrapped them!

    Five Course Garden- Thanks for giving me something to look forward to! Grilled pears sound perfect for autumn. Yum :)

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