Left over from last week’s peach and prosciutto tart are four peaches. To say these peaches are under ripe is a gross understatement. They are as hard as rocks. Each and every morning my hand slides across the bench, picks each peach up and squeezes ever so slightly to see if today is the day these little peachy delights can be added to my homemade muesli and yoghurt for my breakfast. And every day this week I have been faced with severe disappointment. The peaches are just not ripening. It’s unfair. I have been patient. This is ludicrous. Well I have decided my patience is up. Action must be taken. I am eating these peaches! For breakfast, today!
Creating a peach dessert is simple, I could easily whip up a peach cobbler, peach tart or even an upside down peach cake but creating a peach breakfast is a little more challenging. And whilst reminiscing through my mental catalogue of beloved peach desserts an old classic came rushing back into my mind bringing with it memories of sweet, delicate peach flesh, topped with sharp raspberry sauce surrounded in a sea of slightly melted velvety vanilla ice-cream...ahh Peach Melba, how could I have not thought of you sooner. Peach Melba is an absolute classic dessert consisting of peaches poached in a sweet syrup, raspberry sauce and vanilla ice-cream. A perfect spring/summer time combination.
Now that my head is filled with dreams and lust for Peach Melba, I am determined to incorporate this dessert into my breakfast somehow. And I am thinking that French Toast may be just the perfect way to do so. French toast is no new concept to me, there have been many a Sunday mornings where I have been a slave to the dunk, soak and fry method of preparing breakfast and to great delight. One of the joys of French toast is its versatility, it makes quite the perfect canvas to whatever ‘food mood’ you may be in, whether its maple bacon or strawberry jam and cream. So with this in mind I knew my trusty French toast recipe would make the perfect partner to my Peach Melba craving.
I began by halving my disappointingly hard peaches and decided to leave the stones in, trying to remove them at this point in time would prove impossible, the flesh of the peach is way too rigid and I am afraid of destroying the entire fruit in the process. I plopped the halved peaches into an orange syrup made up of water, caster sugar and orange juice. Watching the peaches swim and simmer in the pan was a pure delight, as each minute passed I could see their once lacklustre flesh was turning into the luscious, juicy, mouth watering delight they were meant to be. Meanwhile I got on with making my raspberry sauce. One word, simple. Place raspberries, icing sugar and the juice of one lemon into a blender and blitz. Pour the sauce through a sieve into a bowl and voila, your tart, beautifully vibrant, crimson raspberry sauce is ready.
I then moved my attention towards the French toast. I dug out an old loaf of white bread and cut 4 thick slices to dunk and soak in my mixture of eggs, cream, milk, sugar and cinnamon. Once the bread was sagging from being soaked through to its core I then fried a little melted butter in a fry pan over medium heat and added the bread, watching the bread turn from a sopping mess into a crispy, brown, caramelised carb delight.
To serve, I placed the French toast on my serving platter, topped with the now juicy, luscious peaches, drizzled over the raspberry sauce and the final flourish was a dollop of whipped mascarpone spiked with vanilla. Dessert and breakfast in one. Yay for the weekend. Enjoy K X
Peach Melba French Toast
Adapted from Nigella Lawson, Feast
350g caster sugar
Juice of ½ orange
375g raspberries, plus extra to serve
25g icing sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp sugar
4 slices of stale bread, sliced thick
2 tbsp unsalted butter
mascarpone whipped with vanilla, to serve
For the peaches, place the water, sugar and orange juice into a wide saucepan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Bring the pan to the boil and place the peaches in the syrup, cook for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Remove with a slotted spoon, allow to cool slightly then remove the stones and skins.
To make the raspberry sauce, liquidize the raspberries, icing sugar and lemon juice in a blender. Pour through a sieve to remove the pips and place into a serving jug.
For the French toast, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, ground cinnamon and sugar in bowl. Place bread in the egg mixture, turning after each side is soaked. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the soaked pieces of bread for a couple of minutes on each side, or until scorched golden in parts.
To serve place the French toast on a serving platter, top with peaches, drizzle with raspberry syrup and top with a dollop of mascarpone and fresh raspberries. Serves 2.