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Jean François Bruel
rising stars
November 2002 NEW YORK
Roasted Peach with Lemon
Thyme, White Peach Sorbet
and Poppy Seed Cake

By Chef Jean Francois Bruel, adapted from Chef Daniel Boulud: Cooking in New York City (Assouline, 2002).
Adapted by StarChefs

Suggested wine pairing: Muscat Baumes de Venise, Domaine de Coyeux 2001

6 servings

For the Roasted Peaches:

  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 6 ripe medium peaches
  • 12 sprigs fresh lemon thyme

In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the water and 2 tablespoons of the sugar to a boil. Cook until the sugar has dissolved; set aside.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter the inside of an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.

Using a large bowl, prepare an ice-water bath and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Gently lower the peaches into the boiling water and blanch for 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peaches into the ice-water bath. When the fruit is cool enough to handle, drain on paper towels. Using a small paring knife, slip off the skins.

Place the peaches in the prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining sugar and thyme sprigs. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven, and brush the peaches with the sugar syrup, gently moving the peaches so they do not stick to the bottom of the pan. Continue to baste the peaches every 5 minutes until tender, about 10 minutes. The peaches should remain firm around the center but soft to the touch.

For the White Peach Sorbet:

  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups white peach purée (or 4 large white peaches, skins removed, pitted and puréed in a blender)
  • Juice of ½ lemon

Using a small saucepan over high heat, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Dissolve the sugar, add the peach purée and lemon juice, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cool. Using an ice-cream maker, process the sorbet according to the manufacturer's instructions. Place in a covered container and freeze for at least 1 hour before serving.

For the Poppy Seed Cake:

  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3cup plus 1 Tablespoon confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup poppy seeds, ground
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8 by 2-inch round cake pan, dust with flour, tap out excess; set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream the butter and confectioners' sugar on medium speed until light and pale. Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. If the mixture appears to curdle, the butter is not soft enough: continue to whip the batter until the butter softens and the mixture is smooth. Add the almond flour, poppy seeds, honey, lemon zest, cinnamon, and salt and mix until combined. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and set aside. Wash the whisk attachment and the bowl.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on low-medium speed just until foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the sugar. Continue to beat until the whites form stiff peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold the meringue into the butter mixture. Do not worry about over folding. The batter is dense rather than light and fluffy.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using an offset spatula, smooth the top. Bake until golden brown and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Un-mold the cake and cool completely on a wire rack. The cake will fall slightly as it cools.

To Serve: Serve each roasted peach with a slice of cake and a scoop of white peach sorbet.