Lawrence Murphy shows you how to poach a peach of a dessert

Poached peaches
Poached peaches
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Our local vegetable shop has a beautiful pile of peaches on display outside along with loads of produce from the surrounding area.

But it was those peaches that caught my eye and the memories of the first bite of a ripe peach and the juices exploding over my T-­shirt. It’s at that point your mum would give you a tissue but it was too late to save your shirt.

You don’t have to do much to this fruit as it is special on its own. The Italians often just eat a plate of peaches as a dessert.

There is a classic dessert of poached peaches, raspberry sauce and vanilla ice ­cream called Peach Melba after Australian soprano Nellie Melba, invented by one of the most important chefs in modern history, Auguste Escoffier, while working at the Savoy in London.

It occurred to me that many people don’t know how to poach a peach. This recipe should now stop you buying tinned peaches. Don’t worry if the peaches are a little firm as the cooking process will soften the fruit and concentrate the flavour.

Poached peaches


4 peaches

300ml water

125ml white wine

150g sugar

1 bay leaf

6 black peppercorns


1. Put the water, sugar, wine, bay and peppercorns in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.

2. Simmer for 5 minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve.

3. Cut the peaches in half and remove the stones.

4. Place the peaches into the liquid all facing so you can see where the stones once were.

5. Cover with a round of greaseproof paper.

6. Simmer the peaches gently for seven minutes.

7. Turn the peaches over and simmer for a further 3 minutes.

8. Turn the peaches again and turn off the heat.

9. Allow to cool so it is possible to handle the peaches. Carefully remove the skin.

10. Place on a tray. Allow to cool completely before placing in a fridge.

11. Serve with ice ­cream and raspberry sauce.