Whether you choose an ugly but fantastically sweet Peche Platte or a downy yellow Clingstone, store them at room temperature and eat when their flesh yields to the gentle pressure of fingers. Take care, however, as they bruise easily. All peaches make superb savoury salads and salsas, particularly flavoured with lime juice, chilli and coriander. Try serving them with delicate fish such as sea bass or prawns. They are also scrumptious in ice creams, sorbets and baked puddings.
- Preparation time: 25 minutes
- Cooking time: 35 minutes
- Total time: 1 hour
- 8 large peaches
- 85g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
- 50g butter
- 300g chilled puff pastry
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 200°C , Gas Mark 6. Halve and stone the peaches. Cut into chunks.
- Put the caster sugar in a wide pan over a low heat with 3 tbsp water and the vanilla pod. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and boil for 2-3 minutes to form a sticky syrup. Add the butter, let it melt, then stir in the peaches. Cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes or until they start releasing juice. Tip into a 1.7 litre pie dish. Remove the vanilla pod.
- Roll out the pastry to roughly the same shape as the pie dish, but larger. Cut a 1cm ribbon from the edge of the dough and press it firmly to the rim of the dish.
- Brush the pastry rim with some of the egg white. Lift the remaining pastry on to the pie dish and firmly press around the rim with a fork. Cut off the excess pastry. Prick the lid with a fork, paint with egg white and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven to 180° C, Gas Mark 4. Cook for a further 10-15 minutes or until crisp and golden. Serve hot, warm or cold with cream.