We kept the grilling part as simple as possible -- just a smidge of olive oil on the surface to keep the peach from sticking. We just wanted the fruit to be warm and have pretty grill marks. The pizzaz was coming from the sweetened, boozy whipped cream we put on top.
The first time we made the whipped cream, we added a teaspoon or two (it was late... there were no measurements...) of Grand Marnier, which was delicious. On our second round, with no Grand Marnier in the house, we used bourbon and a touch of vanilla, which we liked even better.
When we used a real grill, we threw on the top for 10 or so minutes, giving the fruit a chance to warm through and soften a bit. At home, we devised a trick to get the same results on a grill pan: putting a pot upside down over the peaches while they cooked. It definitely helped them cook more thoroughly rather than just get grill marks while staying cool on the inside. If your fruit is super ripe and soft, though, you may not need to do this.
As far as the whipped cream, you'll have enough for 10 or 12 peach halves. If you aren't serving that many peaches, don't worry. The whipped cream keeps well in the fridge.
Grilled Peaches with Bourbon Vanilla Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon bourbon
6 peaches, halved (with pitts removed)
Whip the cream in an electric mixer, adding the sugar, vanilla, and bourbon as it starts to thicken. Continue whipping until soft peaks form, about 4 or 5 minutes. Refrigerate.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush a very light layer of olive oil on the cut side of each peach half. Put the peaches face down on the pan, then cover with a medium sauce pan turned upside-down to create a dome over the peaches. Our sauce pan covered about 4 peaches, so you can cook them in batches depending on how big your grill pan and sauce pan are.
Cook peaches for about 6 to 8 minutes, until there are distinct grill marks and the peaches feel warmed through and slightly softened. Remove from pan (they may stick a tiny bit), flip over, and top with a big dollop of whipped cream.
Related: Summer Dessert: Just Fruit
(Image: Elizabeth Passarella)