Photo: Anna Knott

Paula Haney, the owner of Hoosier Mama Pie Company (1618½ W. Chicago Ave., 312-243-4846), loves to poach and grill local peaches. It concentrates the fruit’s already intense flavor—and why should savory cooks have all the fun of grilling? But Haney doesn’t love the hassle of removing the skin. “The trick of cutting a little X on the bottom, blanching them in boiling water, and shocking them in ice water,” Haney says, “doesn’t always work.” So don’t bother. In this bourbon-tinged dessert, the peaches’ skin helps hold the softened halves together, providing an ideal bowl-like base for ice cream.

Paula Haney’s Grilled Peaches

Yield: 8 servings
Active prep time: 30 minutes

4 freestone yellow peaches
4 cups honey
2 cups water
¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. bourbon
1½ Tbsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
½ gallon ice cream (your favorite)

1. Fire up the grill.

2. Cut peaches into halves. Remove pits but leave skin on.

3. Combine honey, water, bourbon, vanilla, and salt in a large saucepan or small stockpot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Submerge peach halves, cut side down, and reduce heat to a simmer.

4. Continue to simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until peach flesh yields slightly when pierced.

5. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature with peaches still submerged.

6. Place peaches, cut side down, over medium-high grill flame. Grill 5 to 6 minutes or until peaches start to brown and honey begins to caramelize. Turn peaches, repeating on skin side.

7. Transfer grilled peaches, skin side down, to individual bowls. Top with a scoop of ice cream, and serve immediately.

TIP: Poach the peaches ahead of time; you can refrigerate them in the poaching liquid for up to 3 days. Reduce some of the liquid to drizzle over the ice cream (yum!). Save the rest for another batch of peaches.

NO GRILL? Use your oven’s broiler, which yields similar results.