Recipe: Lesley Waters' roasted vanilla peach dessert

Roasted vanilla peaches with warm summer berries - a stunning Sunday lunch dessert

Roasted vanilla peaches with warm summer berries - a stunning Sunday lunch dessert - Credit: timmacpherson.com

Peaches are at their very best at this time of year, and make a wonderful addition to your summer ingredients list. Always serve at room temperature, only refrigerate the over ripe ones. If they are firm when you buy them, then leave them to slowly ripen in a brown paper bag. 

I love them savoury style, sliced and served with wafer-thin smoked ham, fresh basil and splash of olive oil and balsamic, finished with a grind or two of freshly ground black pepper. Or, simply toss in a butterhead lettuce salad with lightly mustard flavoured vinaigrette. Try the peaches griddled with English goats' cheese, or with a bit of Dorset Blue Vinny and toasted walnuts.  

Lesley Waters heads up the WhitePepper Online course Cooking with Friends 

Lesley Waters heads up the WhitePepper Online course Cooking with Friends - Credit: timmacpherson.com

Discover more summer recipe ideas in Lesley Dorset podcast here 

Going down the sweet route, soak them in a sweet white wine and use in a trifle, or serve sliced with a splash of Amaretto and a dollop of thick cream. If you have friends coming round for Sunday lunch or supper, try this quick and easy, roasted peach dessert, my modern take on the classic Peach Melba.  

Roasted vanilla peaches with warm berry sauce  

Peaches are at their best in summer, use in savoury or sweet dishes 

Peaches are at their best in summer, use in savoury or sweet dishes - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

To halve the peaches (or nectarines), look for the seam of the fruit and cut at 90° to the seam all the way around the fruit. Place your hands gently on each half of the fruit and gently twist backwards and forwards until they come apart, then with a small knife carefully remove the stone. Serve this platter style with meringues, individually in tumblers with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, or with warm shortbread and clotted cream. 

Serves 4-6 

125g caster sugar  

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1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out 

6 just ripe peaches, halved and de-stoned (see note above)  

1 large orange, juice and zest  

8 tablespoons sweet dessert wine   

125g blackberries  

125g raspberries 

Method: Preheat the oven to180°C fan/gas mark 6. Toss the sugar, vanilla seeds and pod together. Place the peaches into a roasting tray and scatter over the sugar. Pour over the orange juice, zest and 5 tablespoons of the wine. 

Roast for 30 minutes until soft but still holding their shape. Turn the peaches into a colander over a bowl to collect any juices. Allow cooling for a few minutes before placing peaches on a serving platter. 

Add the juices from the peaches and remaining wine into a shallow pan. Bring to the boil and reduce to 4 tablespoons. Add the berries and cook for 30 seconds. Spoon the berry sauce over the peaches and serve. 

Book onto Lesley’s Sunday Cookery School, starting in September, at white-pepper.co.uk or email tess@white-pepper.co.uk 

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