Friday, 24 September 2010

Caramelised Peaches And Burnt Hands

As mentioned in my previous blog, I recently bought some mascarpone thinking I'd make something with peaches. It's been in my head for a while since I remembered about a little Italian restaurant I came across in London called Locale where I'd had poached peaches with mascarpone.

Below is my take on the pudding...

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I decided to caramelise the peaches and sweeten the mascarpone with honey for a particularly sickly dessert. Very little cooking skill involved, so nice and simple, but absolutely delicious.

You will need:


- 4 peaches
- 250g mascarpone cheese
- Clear honey
- Amaretto liqueur (due to it being £13 a bottle, I substituted this for a white wine with peach notes, but the almond flavours of the amaretto would have been preferable.)
- 50g butter
- 150g caster sugar
- Chopped pistachios

Start by preheating the oven to 200°C.

Slice the four peaches in half and remove the stones.


Mix the mascarpone in a bowl with just enough honey to sweeten it. The cheese should break down a little and turn into a smooth paste with enough work - this is the sort of consistency you're looking for. Put the cheese back into the fridge while the rest of the work is done for the peaches.

Making the caramel is the next step. Pour the caster sugar into an oven proof pan (preferably one that has a lid or can be easily covered) and melt it on the hob. Once the sugar is all dissolved add in the butter and stir until it too is dissolved. At this point you should have a viscous, brown syrup into which the peaches should be placed.

Make sure to turn them over regularly to coat them thoroughly in the syrup. After a few minutes the peaches should start to seep their juices into the pan and begin to cook. At this point add just enough of the wine to glaze the pan and continue to 'fry' for a couple more minutes.

Make sure that the peaches are all facing cut side down into the pan before covering and putting into the oven for about 10 minutes to finish baking.

Once the peaches have been removed from the oven they should be very soft and the caramel should be even further reduced and very sticky.

Serve up by placing two halves into a bowl and filling the hollowed centres with a good dollop of the mascarpone in each. Top the lot with a scattering of chopped pistachios and finally drizzle everything with the caramel.

And that's that - about twenty minutes from start to finish.

Just as a wee side note, the leftover caramel can be used to coat apples and left to set overnight for some homemade toffee apples.

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I should probably explain the burnt hands part of the title to the blog too... embarrassing as it is.

Always remember kids, when you remove a pan from the oven by its handles that it will be very hot. Failure to remember this will lead to a two hour stint in your local minor injuries unit.

Not the best way to spend a Friday evening. I won't forget again...

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Coming up:

- I still have that Crema Catalana to make, and I'm also aware of the serious imbalance of sweet to savoury dishes I'm putting on here, so I'll try to correct that too.

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