Every year, I tell myself that when stone fruit season comes around, I'll make all the recipes that I've bookmarked through the year. It's no secret how much I enjoy baking and cooking with the fruit of the season and my cookbooks attest to that. These are usually cookbooks written by authors in the West, whose recipes are usually set in the Summer when their markets are crammed with berries and stone fruits.
Unfortunately, in India we have this really tiny window of opportunity when it comes to stone fruits. The first cherries appear in the last days of May when I frankly couldn't be bothered to do anything in that blistering heat but eat a bowl of chilled cherries every day as a snack. It's only when the rains come that you can think of making something with the fruits before you blink and they just vanish from the markets.
Well, I did try making a cherry cake last week and if you saw my post on Facebook or Instagram, you'd know that it was a disaster. Yes, I tried to pretty up the picture but honestly, that cake didn't have much going for it. Finally, because I hate wasting food, I had to make a batch of chocolate sauce, doused the cake in it to make it palatable so that we could quietly finish it off.
But, my confidence has taken a bit of a beating. So, instead I went with a no-bake dessert from Yossy's book before I get my bearings to bake another cake. This is a simple dessert where the peaches are soaked in white wine for two days along with some mint and vanilla and then served with some lightly whipped cream.
The reason I chose this dessert was because I have usually poached my fruits over heat, never just soaked them in wine. What you get is a simple, chilled, no-fuss dessert to enjoy the peaches in season. This is not a rainy day dessert. This is a dessert for the days when the rain takes a breather and the humidity and heat come back in full force.
It's very important that you choose your peaches carefully. You are looking for firm peaches that have already ripened. If your peaches are still slightly unripe, they won't soften in the wine. You are then better off poaching them as that will soften them down. Neither will they be able to absorb the flavours of the mint and vanilla nor would the wine get infused with the scent of the peaches. I had a mixture of peaches that were ripe and some slightly under and I realised that while we really enjoyed the ripe slices, the slightly tougher ones needed some work.
I have served them with some lightly whipped cream but some vanilla ice cream will also work fine or you could just have the peaches with their wine syrup alone. But, it is important that you serve them chilled. That's what makes them so special on a hot day.
And here's the best part of the recipe. Once you've enjoyed the peaches, you are going to be left with some peach scented wine. Yossy recommends that you turn that wine into spritzers. Simply top up a glass of wine with some sparkling water (club soda), ice and a twist of lemon and it is just such a refreshing drink for a humid evening.
Hope you are enjoying the weekend..x!
Wine Soaked Peaches With Mint And Vanilla
Serves 6-8. Recipe Source : Yossy Arefi's Sweeter Off The Vine
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1/2 cup sugar
- A handful of fresh mint leaves
- 6 medium peaches, firm but ripe, about 450 gms
- 1 750 mls bottle white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream, to serve
- Use the tip of a knife and slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. In a large bowl, rub the vanilla seeds into the sugar with your fingers until well combined and fragrant, add the vanilla pod as well.
- Tear the mint leaves in half and bruise them with your fingers to release their fragrance and oils.
- Add them to the sugar and then whisk in the wine.
- Wash and gently scrub the peaches to remove some of their fuzz. Slice the peaches in half to remove the pits, then slice each half into 1/2-inch wedges, adding the wedges to the wine as you go. The peaches should be completely submerged in the wine. If they aren't, top off the mixture with a bit more wine.
- Cover and refrigerate at least overnight and up to two days. Stir the peaches occasionally to help the sugar dissolve. The peaches will become more flavourful as they sit.
- When ready to serve, serve about one peach per person in clear glasses topped with a bit of the chilled wine syrup and a dollop of cream/vanilla ice-cream, if you like.
- To make a spritzer: Use any leftover peach-scented wine syrup to make a refreshing spritzer. Fill a glass with ice and three quarters full of wine, and top the while thing off with a splash of sparkling water and dash of lemon juice. Cheers!