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Peaches poached in white wine

The perfect dessert when peaches are at their best; usually in June, July and August. White peaches are costlier but have an intense flavour.

Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation method

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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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