You should have seen the peaches at the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market on Saturday. Beautiful rosy-red to almost-yellow skins, firm to the touch and oh the fragrance! So we bought a box.
What to do with this luscious fruit? Paging through Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table, I came across a Peach Melba recipe. As you know if you are a frequent visitor, my penchant is taking a recipe idea and adding (or deleting) an ingredient or two and voilá a unique variation of the basic. I hope you like this one.
HINT: To easily peel the peaches, gently place them in boiling water with a slotted spoon for 20 to 30 seconds. Lift them out and let them cool until you can handle them. The skin will then practically fall off as you grab ahold of a loose area and gently tug.
INCREDIBLE PEACH MELBA
4 ripe but firm peaches
2 C water
3/4 C water (a little more if peaches are tart)
3 fat strips of lemon zest (remove with vegetable peeler)
1 vanilla bean split and scraped to gather the seeds
2 T Creme de Cacao
Vanilla ice cream (I like the Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla)
Whipped cream (lightly sweetened and/or with some almond extract)
Raspberry jelly or syrup
Bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and vanilla bean seeds. Bring to a boil again, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Gently lower the peaches into the simmering liquid and poach for 10 minutes. (If the liquid doesn’t cover the peaches, turn them frequently and baste them in between turnings.
Remove the peaches to a bowl that will hold them and the liquid. Stir the Creme de Cacao into the liquid. (You can experiment with other flavors.) Let the peaches cool in the syrup. They will last about 3 days if you cover them and refrigerate them, assuming you can keep from eating them sooner.
Slice the peaches in half and remove the pit. For an elegant presentation use a parfait or wine glass. For a simple presentation use a bowl. Into the bottom of each glass or bowl spoon some of the liquid. Place a peach half, cut side up in the glass or bowl. Add a scoop of ice cream. Top with the other peach half and a dollop of whipped cream. For elegance add an accent of raspberry jelly which has been thinned to a syrupy consistency or raspberry syrup which has been reduced. (I got lucky we had some low sugar raspberry jelly in the fridge which was the right consistency. Be creative here if you wish.) Add a few fresh raspberries for accent and sprinkle on a few sliced almonds. Bon Appétit!