Luke’s intern, Maggie, made Pêches Cardinal from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” for birthday dessert at lunch on Wednesday and it was pretty amazing. I’m much more of a fruit person than a chocolate person so this dessert was perfect. I’d never had poached fruit before and it’s now one of my new favs. Maggie’s studying photography so she took photos of the process and I thought they were too pretty not to share.
For once the peaches were actually ripe at our grocery store and the raspberries were just perfect. The recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups of sugar for the raspberry purée but they were so perfect that we omitted the sugar all together. There was a bit left the next day and it was perfect added to my morning smoothie. The recipe serves 10, but Maggie scaled it down to serve 4.
Pêches Cardinal : Compote of Fresh Peaches with Raspberry Purée
[from Mastering the Art of French Cooking]
6 c water
2 1/4 c granulated sugar
2 tbsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
10 firm, ripe, unblemished fresh peaches about 2 1/2″ in diameter
a slotted spoon
a cake rack
a serving dish 2″ deep
1 quart fresh raspberries
1 1/4″ c granulated sugar
optional : fresh mint leaves
Simmer the water, sugar and vanilla extract or bean in the saucepan and stir until sugar has dissolved.
Add the unpeeled peaches to the simmering syrup. Bring again to the simmer, then maintain at just below the simmer for 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let peaches cool in syrup for 20 minutes. (Syrup may be used again for poaching other fruits.) Drain peaches on rack; peel while still warm and arrange in a serving dish. Chill.
Force the raspberries through a sieve and place the purée in the jar of an electric blender along with the sugar. Cover and blend at top speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the purée is thick and sugar has dissolved completely. Chill. (Or beat purée and sugar for about 10 minutes with an electric beater.)
When both purée and peaches are chilled, pour the purée over the peaches and return to refrigerator until serving time. Decorate with optional fresh mint leaves.