Roasted Peaches with Fresh Almonds and Pistachios
from pastry chef Jacques Torres' cookbook Dessert Circus:
Extraordinary Desserts You Can Make Everyday William Morrow
& Company Inc. Publishers 1998
cup slivered pistachios
cup slivered blanched almonds
1/2 cups vanilla sugar* (see below)
cup unsalted butter, melted
cup + 2 Tbls. water
the oven to 350°F.
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 again lengthwise.
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
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.
*Vanilla Sugar: 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.