Roasted Peaches with Caramel
A variety of red fruits -- choose from the best available in season -- is cooked down with sugar to create a red fruit caramel, which in turn is used to baste poached peaches. The beautiful fruit presentation includes a tuile cookie, ice cream, and more fruit. The French wild strawberries used at Auberge des Templiers are tiny and intensely flavored; look for the smallest, sweetest strawberries available. Chef Rodolphe makes ice cream flavored with hawthorn seeds for this dish; we suggest rich vanilla or almond-flavored ice cream as an accompaniment, as hawthorn is difficult to find. If you have a source of hawthorn, you may wish to scatter hawthorn seeds and flowers on the plates as a garnish.
- Red Fruit Caramel (Syrup)
- Wild Strawberries - 12, stemmed and halved
- Red Raspberries - 12
- Gooseberries - 6
- Blackberries - 12, pith removed
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Lightly Salted Butter - 3 tablespoons
- Lemon Juice - 1/2 teaspoon
- Vanilla Beans - 2
- Sugar - 2 cups
- Water - 1 cup
- Peaches - 4 ripe, stems removed
- Red Fruit Caramel - (Syrup), above
- Pinch of freshly ground pepper
- Red Fruit
- Wild Strawberries - 24, stemmed and halved
- Red Raspberries - 24
- Gooseberries - 12
- Blackberries - 24, pith removed
- Pinch of freshly ground pepper
- Balsamic Vinegar - 1 teaspoon
- Crisp tuile cookies - 4
- Rch vanilla or almond ice cream - 1 pint
- Mint sprigs - 4
- Pulled sugar sticks - 8, thin (optional)
- Hawthorn seeds - 1 tablespoon (optional)
- Hawthorn flowers - 8 to 12 (optional)
To make the red fruit caramel: Put the fruit and sugar in a heavy saucepan and toss; let stand 30 minutes to let the fruit release its juices, pressing and crushing it lightly from time to time with the back of a wooden spoon. If the fruit does not release its juice, add 1 cup water to the pan and toss; let stand 15 more minutes.
Add the butter and lemon juice to the fruit and juice. Split the vanilla beans and scrape the seeds into the fruit; drop in the vanilla bean. Put over medium heat and stir occasionally as the fruit cooks down and renders its juice; press on the fruit from time to time to press out more juice. Cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until the liquid has turned syrupy. Strain and set the caramel the aside off the heat; put the vanilla bean pods back into the caramel.
To prepare the peaches: Combine the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the peaches, rolling the peaches to coat them thoroughly. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, depending on size. Remove the peaches with a wire skimmer or slotted spoon. Slip off the skins and put the peaches into the red fruit caramel, rolling them to coat. Add a pinch of ground pepper. Put the pan over medium-low heat and cook 3 minutes, turning the peaches and basting them with the caramel as they cook. Lift out the peaches and place one on each serving plate. Reserve the caramel and vanilla sticks again.
To serve: Stir the red fruit into the reserved caramel to coat. Stir in a pinch of pepper and the balsamic vinegar. Spoon the coated fruit onto the plates with the peaches, dividing the fruit among the plates and scattering each type around each plate. Lay a piece of vanilla bean beside each peach. Place a tuile cookie on each plate and place a quenelle of ice cream beside each cookie. Drizzle the remaining red fruit caramel around the plates and over the fruit. Garnish each plate with a mint sprig. Optionally, stand two thin pulled sugar sticks in the ice cream and scatter hawthorn seeds and flowers about the plates.