Whole Roasted Peaches with Fresh Almonds and
Circus by Chef Jacques Torres, William Morrow and Company, Inc.
Adapted by StarChefs
Yield: 8 servings
- 1/2 cup slivered pistachios
- 1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds
- 8 peaches
- 1 1/2 cups vanilla sugar* (see below)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup + 2 Tbls. water
Preheat the oven to 350F.
If you cannot find slivered pistachios, buy whole ones and sliver
them yourself. To do this, use a sharp paring knife to cut the pistachios
in half lengthwise. If the pistachios are large, cut them in half
Randomly press the slivered pistachios and almonds into the peaches.
The skin of the peach will help to hold the nuts in place. The nuts
should be spaced about 1/3 inch apart. Sprinkle half of the vanilla
sugar evenly over the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan. I prefer
to use a heavy copper pan because the copper distributes the heat
evenly. It is important to use a pan deep enough to catch the juices
of the peaches as they roast. Place the peaches on top of the sugar.
Liberally brush the peaches with the melted butter; I use my spray
bottle to squirt the entire peach with butter. Sprinkle with the
remaining sugar. This will give the peaches a nice crust when baked.
Pour the water into the bottom of the pan.
Place the pan in the oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes. The
roasting time will vary according to the ripeness of the peaches.
As the peaches are roasting, baste them about every 5 minutes with
their juices to keep them moist and flavorful. The peaches are ready
when they are slightly brown on top, the skin has loosened slightly,
and they can be pierced easily with the tip of a paring knife. Their
consistency will be similar to that of the flashy part at the base
of your thumb.
Remove the pan from the oven and place the peaches on a plate.
Strain the peach juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl.
If you are serving adults, you can add a little Stoli Persik vodka
to the juice to give the sauce a little pizzazz. Pour the sauce
over the peaches and serve immediately. I think vanilla ice cream
is an excellent complement to this dessert.
To make vanilla sugar, place any cleaned, used vanilla beans on
a baking sheet and set aside until dry. There is really no specific
recipe for vanilla sugar. Any amount of granulated sugar will do.
With less sugar, the vanilla flavor will be strong. I usually mix
one vanilla bean with about 2 cups sugar. When the vanilla beans
are dry, place them in a food processor with the sugar and process
on high speed until the vanilla and sugar appear to have the same
texture, about 1 minute. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve
to remove any large pieces.
If you don't have a food processor, you can simply place the dried
vanilla beans in some granulate sugar and store in an airtight container.
The sugar will take on the flavor of the vanilla. Another way to
make vanilla sugar is to use the vanilla seeds. Use a sharp knife
to slice the beans in half lengthwise. Separate the seeds from the
skin by scraping the blade of the knife along the inside of the
bean. Mix the seeds and some granulated sugar together in a bowl.
I rub the vanilla seeds and sugar between the fingers to ensure
that the seeds are evenly distributed.
Vanilla sugar will keep indefinitely in an airtight container
at room temperature.