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Preheat your oven to 350°F and get either a large shallow dish with a lid, or two sheet pans that are the same size. This many should fit easily on a quarter sheet pan.
Using a sharp knife slice the peaches in half along the seam, twist, then remove the pits. I like to use a grapefruit spoon inserted where the stem was, they usually pop right out. Cut off any funky looking bits and discard. Leave the peels on as they supply great flavor and color as the peaches cook.
Arrange the peach halves cut side up, in a single layer, either in the dish or on one of your sheet pans. Add the pits as well, making sure they are in contact with the pan. Sprinkle with salt and optionally some vitamin C (which will add some acidity and keep the color bright) and/or Aleppo pepper, then cover with a lid or the other sheet pan, inverted.
Bake, covered for about 35 minutes.
Check the peaches and see if they yield gently to a poke, if not, give them another 5-10, otherwise uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes to concentrate the juices in the pan.
Remove the peaches to a bowl along with any juices (discard the pits), and peel them once they are cool enough to handle. Either pack them in their own juices and refrigerate, or serve them over vanilla ice cream with
Using a hand mixer, stand mixer, or whisk, beat the cream until it begins to thicken.
Add the sugar and Orchidea and continue to beat to a soft or stiff peak, as you prefer. If not using right away, beat to a soft peak, as you'll be able to re-fluff it a bit later.
• To freeze the peaches for later, put them in a single layer in a plastic bag, then remove as much air as you can (submerging the bag in water up to the opening will help push air out). I've had decent luck freezing them for up to 6 months. You can also can them in their own syrup following USDA guidelines.
• I love using the fruit and syrup in savory dishes to heighten savory flavors. A simple idea is to add a bit of chopped fruit and syrup when making any pan sauce after searing pork or chicken.
• This recipe easily scales up. If you end up making lots you can save the pits and soak them in alcohol to make a liqueur. Add to a glass jar and cover with any 100 proof spirit. Soak in a dark place for 4-6 weeks, shaking occasionally, then strain and add sugar to taste.'
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue
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