Poached peaches with rose geranium creamessing

Serves 6
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Indy Lifestyle Online

We grow this lovely variety of geranium in the garden. When the weather is warm I can smell its sweet, delicate scent from 10 yards away. It smells of sugar and roses and that's exactly how the cooked cream tastes. We serve this at Petersham chilled straight from the fridge; somehow the coolness works really well with the sugar and the fragrance. It's amazing.

400ml/14fl oz double cream
1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthwise
6 rose-scented geranium leaves, washed and patted dry
3tbsp caster sugar
6 ripe white peaches
1 or 2 drops lemon juice

Place the cream, vanilla pod and geranium leaves in a heavy-based saucepan. Place over a low heat and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 10 minutes, add the sugar, stir and cook for a further 5 minutes. The addition of the sugar brings out the flavour of the leaves and intensifies it. Remove from the stove and set aside to cool. Once it is at room temperature, place in the fridge.

Place a low, wide saucepan full of water over a medium heat and bring to a boil, then turn down to a gentle simmer.

Using a small, sharp knife, make an incision at the base of each peach in the shape of a cross, and gently lower into the water. Poach for a minute or so. The peaches should be taken out as soon as the skin begins to curl back where the incisions have been made (you are not cooking the peach – merely removing its skin). Gently take the peaches out of the water, using a slotted spoon. When they are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins, and place them in the fridge.

This dish tastes best when it is fridge-cold; it has a refreshing quality that is lost if served at room temperature.

To serve, place a peach in a bowl and spoon over the cream.

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