6 White Peach & Lavender Recipes for a Match Made in Provence
A gift of ambrosia
This summer the caretaker of the old house I vacation at in Provence drove up the hill with a crate of white peaches fresh from his orchard.
A retired special education teacher, his father was a green farmer before the term was coined, and now that he himself has returned to the family farm, he carries on the tradition. So it was with pleasure that for once I sank my teeth straight through the delicately furred skins into the white fragrant flesh of these peaches without that nagging feeling a toxin was going to get me.
What to do with a crate of white peaches
Soon I was reeling with the intoxicating aroma of peaches so fresh, and visions of myriad recipes danced like sugar plums (errr, well, maybe not sugar plums) through my mind.
The first was a recipe I make all summer long as soon as white peaches come into season. It's the recipe for white peaches poached with lavender in lemon verbana. Then others began to appear before me. Lo and behold, they all called for lavender!
Some I had to eliminate. White peaches, when they're not picked too green, taste like perfume. But perfume is a fragile substance, and cannot withstand the rigors to which we often subject yellow peaches.
Below are a few of the ideas I tried and tested to ensure the ambrosian aroma holds up. Most, but not all of them call for lavender syrup.
Lavender Bellini cocktail
This is a lavender-flavored version of the famous Bellini cocktail devised at Harry's Bar in Venice. The original Bellini couldn't be simpler: one part white peach purée, two parts Prosecco, a delicately flavored and bubbled Italian sparkling wine. For our purposes, we add lavender syrup.
- 1 part lavender syrup
- 2 parts white peach purée
- 4 parts Prosecco
Simply mix lavender syrup and white peach purée in a champagne flute and slowly add the Prosecco. This is great for brunches by the way.
So cheers, to a match made in Provence!
White peach and lavender smoothie and agua fresca
Smoothie - If you thought the Bellini was simple, this is even more so. You pretty much just leave out the prosecco. A great breakfast drink, it's also terrific for a brunch, especially when where some people drink alcohol and some don't. All you really need to do is blend the white peach and lavender syrup together. For a lighter, chilled version, add ice. For a creamier version, add a banana, the flavor of which won't overpower the peach.
Agua Fresca - For a refreshing, unsweetened drink, make sun tea (or hot tea) with food grade lavender. Dilute with chilled water and serve with ice cubes or over crushed ice.
Poached white peaches in lavender and lemon verbana
This is the recipe that got me started on the heavenly white peach and lavender combination. You don't need much:
- white peaches
- lavender sprigs
- lemon verbana
Simply poach the peaches for a few minutes in a light syrup made by melting the sugar in water. Remove the peaches and add the lavender sprigs and lemon verbana to the syrup and allow to steep. Peel the peaches and serve with the flavored syrup. For more details, see the full recipe.
Peaches and cream simplified
This is an almost excruciatingly delicious dessert. It takes a little more doing because it requires cake, but it's worth the extra effort. I use my French mother-in-law's recipe for almond "financier" cakes. Delicious and foolproof.
- White peaches
- Almond financier cake or shortcake
- Heavy cream or whipped cream
- lavender syrup
Break up the prepared cake into pieces. Cut up peaches and mix in with cake pieces. Drizzle with lavender syrup and serve with cream.
Roasted whites peaches and lavender honey
Normally I wouldn't cook white peaches, aside from the light poaching of the lemon verbana recipe, but for some reason, roasting them seems to work pretty well.
- White peaches
- Lavender honey
- Homegrown or food grade lavender
Simply cut the peaches in two, remove the pit, drizzle the honey into the hollow and stick a head of lavender down into the honey. Roast until warm throughout and starting to brown on top. sprinkle with lavender flowers if desired.
This is great served on its own, or still hot with ice cream.
White Peach and Lavender Creme Fraiche Ice Cream
This is my most recent white peach and lavender recipe. I made it for a dinner last night with another recent creation, fig, walnut and goat cheese ice cream. I can tell you, dessert was a hit!
It's the most complex of all the recipes listed here (though really not so very complicated) so allow me to refer you to the full recipe. You'll need an ice cream maker for this one.
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