Peach pressure – that’s how I would sum up last week in my kitchen. Our wonderful peach tree has surpassed itself and produced a huge crop of beauteous fruits, large, luscious and very juicy. So we have peaches piled up on the scales, peaches in the fruit bowl, and the unripened windfalls sitting in a row along the window-sill in order to catch the sun.
My favourite peach recipes include Peach Melba, sometimes known as Cardinal Peaches, served with ice cream and a vivid raspberry puree that looks like a cardinal’s robe but our own winner of the week is a new take on my old favourite Apple and Almond Pudding, but made instead with peaches and served hot from the oven with some very cold crème fraiche or vanilla ice cream.
1lb (450 g) peaches, weight after being skinned and stoned you will need approximately 5 large peaches)
4 oz (110 g) butter at room temperature
2 oz (50 g) soft brown sugar
4 oz (110 g) caster sugar
2 large eggs
4 oz (110 g) ground almonds
1 oz (25 g) unskinned almonds, roughly chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 180°, gas mark 4
You will also need a baking dish measuring 8 x 8 inches (20 x 20cm) at the base and 1¾ inches (4.5cm) deep (or similar), lightly buttered.
When you have skinned and stoned the peaches, slice the flesh thinly straight into the bottom of the prepared dish, then sprinkle the brown sugar all over them.
Next cream the butter and caster sugar together in a mixing bowl until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Now beat the eggs together in a jug, then beat them into the creamed mixture a little at a time.
Finally, lightly fold in the ground almonds. Spread this mixture over the peaches, smoothing out the surface with a spatula or back of a spoon, and scatter the chopped almonds over the top.
Then bake in the centre of the pre-heated oven for 1 hour.
Check it after 40 minutes or so, and if you feel the top is getting too browned, cover with a sheet of foil and continue cooking.
Serve straightaway (though my husband can vouch for the fact that this pudding is also delicious served cold).