Before TFIL was forced to give up alcohol due to his type 2 diabetes he was a big drinker (probably part of the reason for his diabetes). He loved aperitifs as much as he loved his with-dinner drinks. One of his favorites was Lillet Blanc, a blend of white wines and orange liqueur. The only time I've ever drank Lillet Blanc was when I was at the inlaws, so that's where my mind immediately went when I saw this recipe featured the sweet beverage.
Sunee begins the book with this recipe, which represents "where [she] is now" and harkens back to the first time she met her lover's daughter, the first time she tasted the sweetness of a wild peach. I've had fresh peaches before, but not of the same variety she describes - blood peaches. Wild peaches aren't exactly easy to find in these parts, most being cultivated on farms. But I used what I had.
I love fruit for dessert. For me, there is nothing more needed. No cake, no ice cream. Especially in summer, the sticky sweetness of fruit serves as a nice, light way to end the evening. So I felt this was a delightful summer treat. The peaches are tender, but not in the mushy way canned peaches would be. And the sweetness of the fruit serves to balance the crisp Lillet in the sauce.
Wild Peaches Poached in Lillet Blanc and Lemon Verbena (From Trail of Crumbs)
6 medium sized ripe wild peaches
1 bottle Lillet Blanc
1/3 cup sugar
2 to 3 Tbsp honey
1 piece of orange rind
squeeze of fresh orange juice (from 1 quarter)
4-5 fresh lemon verbena sprigs
- Cut an x in blossom end of each peach. Plunge in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Remove and peel peaches.
- Place peeled peaches in a large, wide, heavy bottomed pot. Pour Lillet Blanc over.
- Add sugar, honey, orange rind, and juice.
- Gently crush lemon verbena leaves with hands to release fragrance and add springs to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and poach, occasionally turning peaches gently for even cooking, to to 30 minutes depending on ripeness, or until peaches are tender when pierced gently with tip of knife.
- Carefully remove peaches and place in a large serving bowl. Turn heat to high and cook poaching liquid 6 to 8 minutes or until thick and syrupy. Pour over peaches.
- Let cool and chill in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.