August is Peach Month, and is the perfect time to celebrate and enjoy the benefits and taste of these full-of-goodness fruit, whilst they are at the peak of perfection.
Peaches are native to China where they have been cultivated for centuries. Not only have they been mentioned in Chinese writings dating back to the 10th Century BC, they have also been the subject of many Chinese folk tales, including having been consumed by the Immortals for their mystic powers of giving long life.
The Persians are believed to have introduced the peach to Europe from China, and then Spanish explorers took them to the Americas in the 16th century.
Nutritionally, not only does a medium sized peach provide one of your recommended 5-a-day, but medical studies have shown that their content of the antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin helps guard against blindness and partial loss of sight in the western world via the disease AMD, which affects millions of people over the age of 50.
There are many ways to incorporate them into the diet in both savoury and sweet dishes. In fact until we did a little search we didn’t realise just how many recipe’s there are for peaches. We have ended up going along the sweet route, and picked out a recipe for Mini Bourbon Caramelized Peach Baked Alaska with Butter Pecan Ice Cream. Quite a mouthful in every sense of the word!
• No Churn Butter Pecan Ice Cream
• 4 tablespoons salted butter
• 1 1/2 cup raw pecans, chopped
• 1 tablespoon maple syrup or brown sugar
• 2 cups heavy whipping cream
• 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• Meringue + Peaches
• 6 large scoops butter pecan ice cream
• 4 eggs whites
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• pinch of salt
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 ripe, but firm peaches, halved + pits removed
• 4 tablespoons butter, divided
• 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
• 4 tablespoons butter
• 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
• 1/3 cup raw pecans, chopped
• 1 tablespoon brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon vanilla
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Ice Cream (Or use store bought)
2. Melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the pecans and maple, cook until toasted + caramelized, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
3. Add the heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use a hand held electric mixer). Whip until stiff peaks form. Fold in the cooled pecans and any butter left in the pan. Spoon the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze 6 hours or overnight.
4. Meringue + Peaches
5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Working quickly, place 6 large scoops of butter pecan ice cream spaced out on the baking sheet. Place the sheet in the freezer.
6. Bring a large pot (big enough to place your mixing bowl over top) of water to boil. Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl of the stand mixer over the pot of boiling water and cook, stirring often, until the egg whites are very warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved, remove the bowl from the heat. Whip the egg whites on high until stiff peaks form. Add in the salt and vanilla extract and whip to combine well. Cool slightly before using.
7. Once the meringue is cool enough to use, remove the ice cream from the freezer. Working quickly, spread the meringue all around the top and sides of the ice cream. You want to make sure no ice cream is peaking through. Place back in the freezer for 1 hour or overnight.
8. Meanwhile, make the crumble. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter. Once melted, add the oats, pecans, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally until toasted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Crumble can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
9. When ready to serve, combine brown sugar, salt and peaches in a large bowl and toss to coat well. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and once melted, add the peaches, cut sides down, and sprinkle with any remaining sugar mixture from bowl. Cook, turning peaches after 5 minutes, until sugar caramelizes and peaches are tender, 7 to 8 minutes.
10. Add the bourbon and cook until reduced, about 1 minute. Add remaining butter and cook until thick, about 1 minute.
11. Place the peaches in bowls and drizzle with any sauce left in the pan. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and place on the peaches. Using a kitchen torch, toast the meringue all over. Sprinkle with crumble and eat immediately!!
For this and more great recipes please head on over to www.halfbakedharvest.com