Saturday, July 10, 2010

Peach and Ice Cream Dessert--Never Criticize Your Friends

In Switzerland I had an American friend. She was one of the most uninitiated people when it comes to cooking. Luckily, she had a Swiss boyfriend who was quite a good cook.

Although absolutely untalented in the kitchen my friend was always claiming that desserts were her domain. This was also supposed to absolve her from the aversion she felt for ordinary cooking. I had always been anxious to try her famous desserts, imagining what an extraordinary creation my palate would be honored to try.

Finally, the moment came. I got invited over to their place for dinner. The whole event was very memorable. I ate for the first time in my life spaghetti with pesto made of fresh basil. It was excellent and it has instantly become a permanent fixture in my cooking repertoire. It is now also one of my kids' favourite pasta dishes.

It was after midnight and several glasses of wine later, when my friend disappeared in the kitchen to crown that simple but a very nice dinner with a dessert of her production. She came back shortly afterwards carrying a box of Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream and a box of fresh raspberries. With all due ceremony she put two scoops of ice creams in each bowl, topped them with a few raspberries and served with pride and joy on her face. All her creativity went into deciding which ice cream flavor and what fruits to chose.

It is absolutely fine to serve something so simple and easy, especially if we prepare the whole dinner, but I hope you agree with me that ice cream with fruits is not really something that an aspiring master of desserts would be particularly proud of. Having said that, I will now offer something that includes ice cream and fruits, but is disctinctly more sophisticated in apperance and taste. It is perfect for a July barbecue, especially that peaches are right now at their peak.

Peach and Ice Cream Dessert with Red Pepper

6 peaches, or one per person, ripe but not too soft,
2 tbsps butter,
2 tbsp sugar,
2 tbsps of rose water, which can be replaced with sweet wine, port, or any liqueur.
12 scoops of vanilla ice creams,
10 grains of red pepper, roughly ground,
fresh mint to decorate.

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Cut peaches in halves and remove stones.
3. Place them in a baking pan "face down".
4. Add butter, sugar, and rose water.
5. Bake for 20 minutes.
6. Take the peaches from the oven, let them cool down somewhat.
7. Arrange peaches on dessert plates "face up" with their own sauce.
8. Put a scoop of ice cream on top of each half peach.
9. Finish with a pinch of red pepper on top of ice cream, decorate with mint and serve immediately. Add biscuits if you wish so.

The same peaches can be made on a grill. I would then marinate them in all the ingredients and serve following the same recipe with ice cream, pepper, and mint. This dessert is delicious in taste and mouth wetting in its look.

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