Monday, 5 September 2011

Honey and Stem Ginger Poached Peaches

A very easy pudding, very nearly, but not quite, a store-cupboard recipe. It's also a good way of using peaches or nectarines that will never reach their full luscious potential, i.e. most of the ones available in the UK.

4 peaches or nectarines
500ml water
Juice of 1/2 an orange, plus strip of orange zest
100g runny honey- something fragrant such as orange blossom variety
3 tbsp ginger syrup, from a jar of stem ginger

To serve
1 piece stem ginger, sliced into matchsticks
Raspberries (optional)
Flaked almonds 

Put the water, orange zest and juice, honey and ginger syrup in a heavy bottomed saucepan that is large enough to accommodate the peaches later. Heat gently, just to dissolve the honey into the water.  Add the peaches and bring the pan to a gentle simmer. Poach for about 20 minutes, turning them over halfway through the cooking time until tender. Remove the fruit with a slotted spoon and allow to cool slightly. When you can handle them, slip off the skins- they should come off easily- and cut into halves, removing the stone. If you've started with hard fruit it can be impossible to do this cleanly. In this case, cut the peach into eighths instead slicing it off the stone. Put in your serving dish. Now put the syrup back on a high heat, and reduce until you have about 100ml of liquid left. Let this cool for a few minutes, then pour over the peaches through a sieve to remove the zest and any errant orange pips. The peel ends up almost candied, and you can eat it as it is- chef's perks. When you are ready to eat toast the almonds in a dry frying pan and and scatter on top, with the stem ginger and raspberries (if using). It should be served cool, not chilled, and ideally with ice cream. Over-refrigeration is the death of too many puddings. You can make it in advance, just make sure you take it out of the fridge a few hours before eating.
Serves 4.

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