June 2009 - PEACHES POACHED IN WHITE WINE & CITRUS FRUITS
New recipes each month, using the best of the season's produce, including quick and easy suppers and tasty desserts.
The perfect dessert when peaches are at their best, June and July are usually the best months. The best come either from France or Italy. White peaches have the very best flavours and for that there is a small extra price to pay.
1. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and with the blade of a knife scrape the seeds; reserve. Cut the orange and lemon into fine slices 2 - 3mm, rind on.
2. Remove the stalks from the peaches. Place the peaches in a single layer in a 25cmÆ saucepan. Add the caster sugar, water, white wine, vanilla pod halves and seeds. Top with orange and lemon slices. Cut out a round of greaseproof paper the same size as the saucepan and cut a hole in the centre to allow the excess heat to escape; place it directly on top of the peaches.
3. On a high heat bring to the boil, immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for approximately 20 minutes (the flesh of peaches is very delicate, if subjected to high heat their texture will be ruined, so cook them very gently, there is an easy way to see if the peach is cooked or not; you will notice some tiny bubbles escaping from the base of the stalk you removed, when the bubbles stop coming out, the peach is ready - 20 minutes should be fine). Turn off the heat and leave them to cool in their own juices. Chop 4 sprigs of mint and incorporate into the syrup. Refrigerate for a minimum of six hours up to twenty four to allow the exchanges of flavours between the citrus, mint and peaches. With a slotted spoon, remove the peaches onto a plate and carefully peel off the skin.
4. Place the peaches, orange and lemon slices, vanilla pod into a glass bowl. Pour the white wine and citrus syrup over (if you have too much syrup, freeze it and scrape beautiful frozen flakes of white wine to serve as a pre-dessert at a future meal). Arrange 4 sprigs of spearmint on top.
|Photograph © Jean Cazals
180g caster sugar
8 peaches, firm but ripe, white if possible
500ml white wine, dry
1 vanilla pod
8 sprigs of spearmint