No, you are not imagining things and I have neither moved to the Southern Hemisphere, where peaches are undoubtedly about to come into a gorgeous new season, nor have I lost my love for all things seasonal. This is merely another of my catch up posts for the recipe’s I never got around to posting over the Summer here in Toronto.
At the St Lawrence Market there is a produce stall on the upper level where, from the end of June, you can see people poking there noses around, lowering their glasses to read the hand written signs on the fruit displays, sighing a little, disappointed, and carrying on with their shopping. They’re waiting, you see, for The Peaches. The Peaches I speak of are no ordinary peaches. Ontario abounds with peaches from it’s Niagara Region through the Summer, but this little, owner run stall in the market has found peaches of such good, consistent quality that they have people asking for them specifically. And when the famous Peaches do eventually arrive, in baskets and boxes, they are pounced upon (gently, of course, to avoid any bruising) and bought in hoards. People can be seen leaving the market, one hand weighed down by pounds and pounds of peaches, the other delicately eating a fresh, ripe peach right on the spot, juice running down their chins and a happy, far away glint in their eyes.
What to do with such peaches? They seem to lovely to be turned into sticky jams and are far best eaten just like that, with the aforementioned juices running down the chin. But sometimes one likes to, uh, tart a peach up a little, if you know what I mean. This is a great way to make the best of the season’s hero’s while delivering a dessert that smacks just enough of glamour and decadence.
One of the best things about serving fruit for dessert is it’s ease of preparation and this little gem is pretty darn simple. Other than a little whipping for the meringue and a little stirring of the custard there’s really not much to making this. I must add here that I’m using the word “Custard” rather loosely since there’s neither milk nor cream in the mix. But it turns out so creamy and velvety in any case that I couldn’t think of anything else to call it.
*note: I baked this for two, hence the 1 large peach, halved. Multiply for more people. Also, I know it’s not always that easy to get great quality juice in North America. I use Ceres fruit juices from South Africa, available all over the place here, but alternatively you could juice a fresh peach.
Baked Peaches with Meringue and Peach Custard
For the Peach:
1 large, ripe, white peach, halved and stoned
1½ Tbsp Vanilla Sugar
Drizzle of Basalmic Vinegar per peach
For the Meringue:
1 egg white
2 Tbsp caster sugar
For the Custard:
½ cup peach juice
1 tsp corn starch
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp butter
– Preheat the oven to 300˚F
– Place the peaches, cut side up, on a baking tray. Sprinkle the vanilla sugar and balsamic vinegar over them.
– Whip the egg white untill stiff, then add the sugar 1 Tablespoon at a time, beating between each addition.
– Top each peach with the meringue mixture. Bake in the 300˚F oven for 25 mins, then lower the temperature to 250˚F and bake for a further 10 mins.
– To make the custard, stir the corn starch into the cool peach juice. Add the yolk, vanilla and salt and mix well.
– Over a moderately low heat, stir the peach custard untill it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
– Before serving, stir the butter into the warm custard until melted.