Two ways to cook... peaches

Whether using fresh or tinned, these juicy fruits will not disappoint anybody looking for a treat during the steamy days of summer.

Shortbread peaches and cream from Vanessa

Shortbread peaches and cream from Vanessa

 

GARY’S WAY... PEACH AND VANILLA MASCARPONE MILLE-FEUILLE

The first dessert that springs to mind when discussing peaches has to be the classic, peach melba. Invented by the master himself, Auguste Escoffier circa 1882/1883 in honour of the Australian soprano Nellie Melba. As the years went on, raspberry puree was added to the mix. Such is the way with dishes, they are toyed with through the years and often someone adds a wee tweak that catches on and thus the classic changes. The same can be said of my recipe this week. The classic mille-feuille would have had pastry cream in the layers, but I’ve gone for a vanilla mascarpone. Peaches are stunning when ripe. We often have to buy them at least a week in advance in Ireland in order to enjoy them ripe. So quite often you’ll find dishes that involve a little light poaching or even stewing, as we don’t have the patience to wait for them to ripen.

I’ve gently cooked them here and layered them between crisp layers of pastry. I decided to use a sandwich toaster to get the layers crisp and it was a revelation. I’ll never go through the hassle of putting weights on oven trays ever again. I can’t begin to tell you how handy it was that my sandwich press worked so well. A waffle iron will do the same thing, so play around. If you don’t have either, simply place your puff pastry on oven trays between sheets of greaseproof paper and put weights on top.

VANESSA’S WAY... SHORTBREAD PEACHES AND CREAM

Sweet and juicy ripe peaches, with salad leaves, prosciutto and a balsamic dressing make a great salad. Baked peaches topped with amaretti biscuit crumble are fabulous with ice cream. My kids love this pretty peaches ’n’ cream tray bake.

You can make the shortbread a few days in advance, then layer the peaches on top just before serving, so the shortbread stays crumbly. If making ahead, use tinned peaches which, once sliced, won’t discolour.

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