Sunday, September 26, 2010

Stewed Peaches

Welcome to my new kitchen in Le Pecq, France! As you can see from the tools mixed in with the utensils, it's very much a work in progress.

But still, it's a pleasant, sunny place to work, and Sami has installed a big transformer so that I can use my American appliances (though I'm still nervous about getting out the Kitchenaid).

We've been spending a lot of time shopping and moving and packing and unpacking--moving a large American-style household into a small French-style apartment takes a good deal of time and patience. And money. But we're getting there. I hope to be able to host a dinner party here soon.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying getting to know our new environs. One of my favorite parts of the 'hood is the market, which takes place three times a week, just a 15-minute walk from here. I roll my "Granny cart" up the hill and into town, and when I come back, it's filled with beautiful produce like these peaches (well, now it's more like apples and pears and prune plums).

And then I can get the Maida Heatter book out again and cook them up on my not-so-fabulous but fully functional stove in my favorite cast-iron pot--the pot I bought myself as soon as I found out we were staying in France.

Mmmm...the last peaches of the season cooked in vanilla syrup. Simple and delicious.

We ate these plain, but there's so much delicious syrup that they might be even better spooned over pound cake or ice cream--or both.
This was a great way to start back with Maida in our new kitchen. We've been here almost a month, and I've made lots more desserts, but I needed to get the photos uploaded before I could post them. I hope to post a lot more in the coming days. But in the meantime, here's the recipe--which you can also do with prune plums (I did that this week--delicious!) or pears.

Stewed Peaches

1-1/2 c. water
1 c. (7 oz.) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split (I used half a bean and there was plenty of vanilla flavor)
6 peaches, peeled (either with a knife or by blanching a minute or two)

In a large pot or even a deep skillet, mix the water and sugar. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the sugar water with a small, sharp knife and throw the bean in there as well. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the peaches and cook for about 15 minutes, turning them once. They should become tender but not mushy. Remove the peaches with a slotted spoon. Turn up the heat on the syrup and let it boil down until the bubbles get large and the mixture becomes, well, syrupy. Pour that syrup over the peaches and cool. Maida suggests serving these chilled. Enjoy them with yogurt for breakfast or with ice cream for dinner or just plain for a not-so-guilty pleasure.

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