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Summertime, and peaches, are dreamy.

Byline: Sheila &Sean

SUMMER is surely the season for peaches as they reach their optimal ripeness and become second to none in terms of taste.

Ripeness is especially important with peaches, so be sure to choose fruit that is smooth and soft, with a bright appearance and velvety skin.

Characterised by their wonderfully sweet juice and delicate aroma, peaches are perfect for an abundance of summer desserts.

Poaching is one of the simplest and best ways to cook them, so our first recipe is Vanilla Poached Peaches.

You need 6 large peaches, one litre water, 500g caster sugar, one vanilla pod.

In a medium-sized pan, bring water, sugar and vanilla pod (scraped out) to the boil, then reduce the heat and add peaches.

Simmer for 10-15 mins until the peaches are tender.

Remove the peaches from the pan and set aside in a large bowl. If you want to peel the peaches, then you can do so at this stage as the skin will come away easily.

Increase the heat to high again and reduce the peach syrup by half.

Pour the syrup over the peaches and serve with spoonfuls of mascarpone or vanilla ice cream.

Alternatively, serve the peaches with a caramel sauce, for which you simply melt 25g butter with two tablespoons of caster sugar, add a touch of cream and whisk until smooth.

Next is a Classic Peach Melba recipe for which you need six large peaches, one litre water, 500g caster sugar, one vanilla pod, juice ' lemon, one punnet of raspberries.

Poach the peaches as in the previous recipe, and again reduce the syrup by half.

Add six tablespoons of the reduced syrup and the lemon juice to the raspberries.

Place in a food blender and blitz together until a smooth consistency is achieved.

Pour the mixture over the peaches and serve with helpings of vanilla ice cream.

Our third recipe is delicious Peach Cobbler.

For the filling, you need six ripe peaches, juice ' lemon, three tablespoons caster sugar.

For the crust, you need 75g plain flour, one teaspoon baking powder, one tablespoon caster sugar, 40g butter, 75ml soured cream.

To make the cobbler crust, put the flour, baking powder, sugar and butter into a food processor and blitz for a few seconds until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs and tip into a bowl.

Slice the peaches into a dish, pulling the stones out as you go and toss with the sugar and lemon juice.

Divide the fruit between four 150ml oven proof dishes or one large pudding dish. Mix the soured cream into the crumb mixture until a soft dough is formed.

Flatten the dough slightly and position on top of the fruit (if you're using the individual dishes, divide the dough into four equal sections first).

Finally, dust with caster sugar, place on a baking tray and bake for in a preheated oven (200C/Gas mark 6) for 25 mins. Serve warm with whipped cream.

* SHEILA BENSON and Sean Millar are at The Side Door, 29a Hope Street, Liverpool. Tel: 0151 707 7888.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Aug 5, 2011
Words:508
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