Yesterday Bruno's parents arrived back from 2 weeks in Tuscany, loaded down with goodies for us - 6 litres of hand-picked organic extra virgin olive oil (*swoon* you should see its grassy green-ness), waldhonig (forest honey), coffee, biscotti, and a tray of beautiful peaches. Lovely lovely.
Tonight we're having some friends over for fondue (the cold weather made us do it...). I wanted a light dessert that wasn't going to sit heavily in our stomachs after all that cheese, so I poached the peaches in a vanilla sugar syrup, with a couple of peels of lemon rind for zing. The end result is gorgeous.
However, I would STRONGLY advise anyone considering doing the same to make sure their peaches are absolutely ripe, as it makes it much easier to peel away their skins. Even slightly unripe sections of peach are a pain in the arse to peel away, and make for unsightly dents and gouges in those blushing smooth cheeks.
I plan to eat them at room temperature, with maybe some rich thick double cream from Lac de gruyere for good measure.
Poached peaches (or peachy poaches, if you like)
6 large ripe peaches, or more small ones
6 cups of water
3/4 cup of sugar
2 vanilla beans, one of them slit down the middle
a couple of peels of lemon rind
- Put peaches into a bowl and cover completely with boiling water. Let stand for about 20 minutes. Occasionally turn yr peaches so that all parts of it get well soaked in the hot water.
- While you are waiting for the peaches, put the rest of the ingredients in a big saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce to a low heat.
- The peaches are ready to be peeled when the skin looks kind of water-logged and bloated. Carefully cut around the stem to loosen the skin then peel, hopefully in nice big sheets and not little raggy ribbons! A couple of mine weren't entirely ripe and I ended up cutting the skin thinly away with a sharp knife to avoiud having to gouge the tender flesh as I tried to prise away the skin. Be careful, the peaches will be hot and slippery as you peel.
- Place the peaches tenderly in the sugar water and poach gently for 5 or so minutes.
- Carefully lift out and place in a dish, stem side down. Carelessly but artistically toss the vanilla beans over the peaches. My peaches gently bled their pink juices into the dish after I removed them into the serving dish, leaving behiond a gloriously pink liquid.
- Bring the remaining poaching liquid to a rapid boil and keep boiling until reduced and slightly thickened. Chuck out the lemon peel.
- Spoon a couple of spoonfuls of the vanilla-flecked liquid over the peaches so that they are slicked and glossy.
- Pour the rest of the liquid into a serving jug, to pour over the peaches when dishing up.
- Serve unadulterated or with cream as rich and thick as you dare.