Peach Tiramisu

8 09 2009

 

A basket of Niagara peaches at a roadside farmstand

A basket of Niagara peaches at a roadside farm stand

Tiramisu is one of those desserts that became a victim of its own success.  It’s delicious when made properly but became so popular in restaurants that people got tired of it.  Like crème brûlée and molten chocolate cake, tiramisu became ubiquitous on menus in the 1990’s/2000’s and mediocre versions of these classics turned many people off for good.  However, it’s time to revisit tiramisu: my seasonal version is easy to prepare, requires no baking (perfect for hot days when you don’t want to use the oven) and is impressive in both presentation and taste.  Whenever I make it, it gets raves.

The key to this recipe is to use peaches that are at their peak: ripe, juicy and tender. If your peaches are too firm, leave them on the counter for a couple of days to soften up.  There’s no need to remove the skin but if you’d prefer to do so for presentation purposes, visit  Kitchen Tip of the Week: How to Peel Tomatoes and Soft Fruit for instructions.  

This recipe makes individual desserts, which are a fun and impressive way to present it.  It can also be made as one large family style tiramisu.  The servings don’t look as nice on the plate but it will taste fine.

Peach Tiramisu

Makes 4 individual desserts

  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup chilled whipping cream
  • ½ cup amaretto liqueur
  • Approximately 10 large ladyfinger biscuits (savoiardi)
  • 2 large peaches, pits removed and cut into thin slices
  • Mint leaves, for garnish – optional
  • 4 martini glasses or other glass dishes suitable for serving the individual desserts

Making the Mascarpone Cream:

  1. In a large bowl, combine mascarpone cheese, 3 Tablespoons sugar and vanilla. Stir until smooth and set aside.
  2. In a metal or glass bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until whites are frothy, glossy and form soft peaks. Set aside.
  3. In another metal or glass bowl, beat whipping cream and 1 teaspoon sugar until it forms stiff peaks (do not overbeat).
  4. Add egg whites and whipped cream to mascarpone cheese. Carefully fold in until just combined – do not mix vigorously.

Assembling the Desserts:

  1. Set out the four serving dishes. Spoon a small amount of mascarpone cream into the bottom of each one.
  2. Pour amaretto liqueur into a shallow bowl. Dip ladyfingers quickly into amaretto, just enough to moisten them (do not sit them in the liqueur or they will go soggy). Break biscuits as necessary to fit into serving dishes and layer over mascarpone cream.
  3. Top biscuits with peach slices and add another layer of mascarpone cream. Continue layering amaretto-soaked ladyfingers, peaches and cream, finishing with a layer of cream on the top.
  4. Refrigerate and let rest for at least 2 to 3 hours so biscuits have time to soften and the flavours can develop. Garnish with peach slices and mint leaves (optional).

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

This recipe first appeared on Suite101.com

Individual Peach Tiramisu

Individual Peach Tiramisu

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Peach Sangria

22 08 2009

 

Baskets of peaches at the St. Lawrence Market, Toronto

Baskets of peaches at the St. Lawrence Market, Toronto

Peaches are at their peak right now and I’m fortunate to live about an hour from the Niagara region, a major peach growing area.  The peaches I picked up early last week were a bit firm but flavourful and their taste and texture improved after leaving them on the counter for a day or two.  

This sparkling sangria is a fun and refreshing way to enjoy fresh peaches and their juice.  I call for peach schnapps, which I enjoyed in my early twenties but hadn’t given much thought to in recent years, thinking it was too sweet and juvenile. However, I find a little bit adds a nice peachy flavour without being overly cloying. For peach juice, you can either puree and strain some fresh peaches or use a good quality bottled juice.

Peach Sangria

Makes 4-1/2 cups of sangria

  • 1 750-ml bottle of inexpensive sparkling wine such as a cava or prosecco
  • 1/2 cup peach schnapps
  • 1 cup peach juice
  • 1 large ripe peach, pitted and diced
  • Ice cubes

In a large pitcher, pour in the sparkling wine.  Mix in the peach schnapps and peach juice and stir together.  Add ice cubes and the diced peach.  Use a spoon when pouring to control the peach pieces in each drink.

Enjoy!

 

Ice cold peach sangria - the perfect refreshment on a hot August afternoon

Ice cold peach sangria - the perfect refreshment on a hot August afternoon





Peach Chutney

6 08 2008

I debated about what to call this – peach salsa, peach sauce, peach relish…  It is probably closest in style to a classic chutney – fruit, vinegar and spices are cooked together to make a delicious accompaniment to grilled meats.   I have given a few suggestions below for using the chutney. 

Peach Chutney

Makes approximately 1-2/3 cups sauce

(VEGETARIAN)

  • 4 large, ripe peaches
  • 3 Tablespoons very finely diced red onion
  • 2 Tablespoons very finely diced red pepper
  • 1/2 a jalapeno pepper, seeds and membranes removed and finely diced
  • 1 Tablespoon neutral oil, such as safflower or canola
  • 2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Remove skin from peaches (see note*) and dice fruit, discarding the pits.  Set aside.  *To remove peach skin:  Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and set aside.  Fill a stockpot with water and bring to a boil.  While the water is coming to a boil, use a knife to cut a large ‘X’ into the bottom of the peaches, making sure to cut right through the skin.  Once the water has come to a boil, carefully place the peaches into the water.  Leave them in for 45 seconds and then remove with a slotted spoon.  Drop peaches immediately into the bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking.  The skin should lift away fairly easily once they have cooled.  Peel skin off  and discard  (it’s not a big deal if you can’t get it all off easily – it will add a bit of colour and texture).
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat oil and saute onions, red pepper and jalapeno pepper on medium-high heat until they begin to soften, approximately 2 minutes. 
  3. Add peaches and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and cook on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, until fruit is beginning to soften and the flavours start to come together.
  4. Chutney can be made in advance and refrigerated.

Serving Suggestions for Peach Chutney:

  • It makes an excellent accompaniment to grilled pork and chicken dishes.  For blue cheese stuffed pork chops: Take a thick cut (2″) pork chop and make a slit in the side with a sharp knife, forming a pocket.  Stuff with about a teaspoon crumbled blue cheese per chop.  Rub both sides of the pork chops with olive oil, salt, pepper, finely chopped thyme and rosemary.  Saute or grill seasoned chops. 
  • It makes a great dipping sauce for shrimp.
  • Puree chutney and use as a grilling glaze for shrimp, pork or chicken.  Use as you would a barbeque sauce.
  • Make simple hors d’oeuvres: put a dollop of cream cheese on a cracker and top with a spoonful of chutney.  Garnish with a sprig of thyme.
  • Use as a spread for chicken sandwiches or wraps in place of mayonnaise.
  • Add a teaspoon of ground cumin and serve with your favourite Indian dishes.

Bon Appetit and Enjoy!