The perfect dessert when peaches are at their best; usually in June, July and August. White peaches are costlier but have an intense flavour.
6 firm but ripe peaches, stalks removed
120g/4oz caster sugar
400ml/14fl oz dry white wine, boiled for 10 minutes to remove any acidity
2 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod, chopped
½ orange, in 2-3mm slices, peel left on
¼ unwaxed lemon, in 2-3mm slices, peel left on
2 sprigs mint, plus extra to serve
1 sprig basil
Place the peaches in a single layer in a 25cm/9in saucepan. Add the caster sugar, 400ml/14fl oz cold water, the white wine and vanilla extract (or chopped vanilla pod). Top with the orange and lemon slices and herbs.
Cut out a round of greaseproof paper the same size as the saucepan and cut a small hole in the centre to allow the excess steam to escape; place it directly on top of the peaches. This will help keep the peaches submerged ensuring even cooking.
Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes. There is an easy way to see if the peach is cooked or not; look for tiny bubbles escaping from the base from where the stalk was removed. When the bubbles stop coming out, the peach is ready – 15 minutes should be fine.
Turn off the heat and leave the peaches to cool in the syrup. Refrigerate for a minimum of six hours (and up to 24 hours) to allow the flavours to infuse between the citrus, herbs and peaches.
With a slotted spoon, remove the peaches onto a plate and carefully peel off and discard the skin. Reserve six slices of the lemon. Cover and reserve in the fridge while you make the granita.
Pour the juice into a bowl and freeze half of it in a freezer-proof container for the granita. You could make more granita using all of the liquid; however you will only need half of it for this recipe.
To serve, place a slice of the reserved lemon on each plate. Remove the granita from the freezer and, scrape piles onto the top of the lemon slice with a fork. Place the peeled peach on top of the granita and garnish with a sprig of mint.
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