Last week on the Fourth of July, we welcomed a group of friends who drove down from L.A. for the weekend. (We also worked on our vertical herb garden — but more on that later.) After an afternoon of drinking dark-and-stormies on the beach — and a night of fireworks under the twisted junipers of Ellen Scripps Browning Park — we headed back to our garden for dessert, and to listen to Jay-Z’s new album.
But we’ll stick to the dessert details. Because peaches are now in their full, furry glory, we wanted to whip up a late-night treat that would do them justice.
In searching for ingredients that would complement our peaches without overpowering them, we turned to The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. Winner of a James Beard Award, this guide features common and uncommon ingredients (trout, browned butter, tomatillos, anise hyssop), and below each ingredient lists flavors that complement it (cayenne, nectarine…). Guided by top chefs from across the U.S., Page and Nornenburg recommend pairing peaches with star anise, clove, cinnamon, brown sugar, ice cream and dry wine, to name a few.
So we took our innocent little peaches and got ‘em good and drunk. On a summery spiced wine!
We mulled a pinot gris with some of the above-mentioned spices and blanched the peaches (much easier than it sounds, and saves time in the long run — instructions below). After soaking the peeled, sliced fruit in the spiced wine for a couple hours, we served them over scoops of ice cream.
Our local Persian market sells pints of delicious rose ice cream, faloodeh (a refreshing, non-dairy, noodle-filled sorbet) and pistachio saffron ice cream; we went nuts and got all three. But vanilla and regular pistachio are excellent alternatives.
Here’s the recipe.
Spiced Drunken Peaches Over Ice Cream
Yield: Serves 6.
– 1 bottle (750 mL) of dry white wine, like pinot gris
– 1/3 cup brown sugar
– 7-10 whole cloves
– 4 star anise
– 2-3 cinnamon sticks
– 3 cardamom pods
– 3 ripe peaches
– 1-2 pints ice cream (we recommend vanilla, pistachio or rose, which is readily available at Persian markets)
– 6 small basil leaves
1. Combine wine, sugar, cloves, star anise, cinnamon and cardamom in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and continue to warm on stovetop for about 30 minutes. Be careful not to let it boil, which will alter the alcohol content.
2. Remove from heat and strain.
2. Blanche peaches by submersing in a pot of boiling water for 35-40 seconds, then placing peaches in a bowl of ice water for 60 seconds.
3. Peel peaches (made easier by that quick-and-easy blanching) and slice.
4. Combine sliced peaches and spiced wine in saucepan or large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
5. Scoop ice cream into small bowls, ladling the drunken peaches generously over the scoops.
6. Garnish with basil.