This recipe yields a dish that tastes like it takes more effort than it actually requires, that somehow the peach flavor is deeper than it would be if the peaches were merely raw or lightly stewed, and that you fiddled around making an elegant little sauce to dribble over the peaches and ice cream on the plate.
It helps, of course, to have good peaches to begin with. I am lucky enough to have peach trees right in my yard, the aroma of peaches all around me when I go out to pick, and the slightest touch on a peach drops one into my hand. You don’t have to peel them, either, to get them ready for baking; just cut them in half and take out the pit. Peeling it is optional. I didn’t peel.
Use brown sugar, light or dark, your choice, or turbinado sugar and use it generously. This is one of those times when parchment paper is really helpful, because this can be a sticky mess if you don’t have something between the peaches and the pan. A moderate oven, and well-flavored vanilla ice cream, or if you have none, firmly whipped heavy cream with a little vanilla to flavor it, and that’s it. Really.
Now usually, when I try out a recipe, I take a picture of the finished product, but this time I got only as far as showing how to prepare the peaches for baking, then when they came out of the oven, we dove into the dessert so fast that I forgot to capture the golden color of the baked peaches and the melting vanilla ice cream and the caramel dribble of peach and sugar sauce over the ice cream. Please trust me on this one: it was gorgeous and delicious.
- 1 large peach per person
- Light or dark brown sugar, or turbinado sugar
- Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream
- Heat an oven to 350 degrees and line a small baking pan with parchment paper.
- Cut a large peach in half and remove the pit; peel it if you wish.
- Spread some brown or turbinado sugar on a plate and press the cut side of the peach into the sugar, making sure there is a generous amount of sugar on it.
- Place the peach cut side down on the parchment paper.
- Bake for about fifteen minutes or until the peach is soft, and the sugar and peach juice have made a sauce.
- Place the peach on a plate, top with the ice cream, and scoop sauce from the pan to dribble over the peach and ice cream.