Mint julep poached peaches

Once again, I am guest-blogging over at Married …with Dinner for another installment of their Drink of the Week feature. This time I am discussing a drink I absolutely adore, the mint julep.

As an ice-cold beverage, the julep is cool and refreshing, but the flavors lend themselves well to other preparations. By upping the ratio of simple syrup and mint to bourbon, it makes a wonderful poaching liquid for ripe fruit, and in particular that most southern of fruits, peaches. Since peaches are just now reaching their pinnacle of ripeness, this is a perfect, and perfectly seasonal, dessert.

I stole the idea from Nigella Lawson‘s Forever Summer; I never actually bought the book, just watched her make this on the television show. I just intuited the recipe — it isn’t really all that complicated.

Do you dare to eat a [mint julep-poached] peach?

Mint Julep Poached Peaches
Adapted from Forever Summer, Nigella Lawson

2 ripe peaches
1/2 c. bourbon
1/2 c. simple syrup
several springs mint

Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits, being careful not to maul the luscious, ripe fruit. Using the blunt side of a knife blade, bruise the mint by whacking it firmly but gently several times. In a small nonreactive saucepan (large enough for all four halves to lay face down), combine the bourbon, syrup and mint and bring to a simmer; steep the mint for a few minutes, until very fragrant, then remove. Carefully drop the fruit, cut side down, into the syrup. Poach for a minute or two, depending on how soft and ripe your fruit is. Using a spoon or spatula, very gently flip the peach halves over and poach on the other side another minute or two. The peaches should be knife-tender but not falling apart.

Use a slotted spoon to extract the peach halves from the pan, and set them cut-side down on a dish; allow to cool a few minutes. Meanwhile, kick up the heat on the syrup and bring to a low boil. Reduce the syrup until it is well thickened; how much is entirely up to you. While the syrup is reducing, peel the skins off the peach halves. They should come away very easily.

Serve the peach halves warm or room temperature, whole or sliced. A scoop of vanilla ice cream, dollop of whipped cream or quenelle of crème fraîche wouldn’t be a bad thing, but nor is it strictly necessary. Pour the reduced syrup over, and garnish with a sprig of mint.

  • Oh good lord–that sounds heavenly! And I have a mint plant exploding out of its pot–time to put it to good use!

  • Oh, yum. Now I know what to do with the leftover mint from the Julep syrup.
    If you like these flavors, I think you’ll like next friday’s Drink of the Week, too.

  • Ooh — teaser!

  • Now that is a treat that’s great on a sunny patio, or before and after sex (maybe during?)

  • During sex on the sunny patio would be optimal, yes. As long as there’s a hose nearby.

  • Yum. In last month’s Gourmet there was a recipe for Basil Lemon Simple Syrup. I made it and it’s delicious and I bet you could do the same with mint. They use it in gimlets and lemonade.

  • Ha! Right back at you. I’m definitely doing your recipe when I get back from So. Cal. Sounds dee-lish.

  • Oh, if only my grandfather were alive today. He would have appreciated this. I’m going to have to give this a try!

  • As a Kentucky boy with a soft spot for mint juleps, I can tell you I am fairly salivating over this recipe. How about a splash of Maker’s on top to finish?

  • I can’t see how that would be a bad thing, but mind you the syrup does retain a strong bourbon flavor. However, maybe a flambe would be a nice addition…

  • b/c of you – i had to get a mint julep over at alembic last night. And that was sooooooo good. And now i’m tempted by the peaches. =)

  • Sean – I only seem to have one mint julep during the entire summer as they tend to knock me sideways. A couple of weeks’ ago I had peaches that were marinated in bourbon, but I think the addition of the mint would add more piquancy and interest to the bourbon. Nigella’s recipes are great in that she makes them look easy, and usually they are. Good on you for taking the reins.

  • Thos poached peaches look devine! 🙂

  • What a time of year to try a heavenly concotion like this. Great idea! Peaches are in prime….I’ll try this for sure.

  • David

    I just tried this recipe tonight and it was fantastic! I just saw Nigella make this on her Forever Summer: Green episode. It seemed so easy, and decadent with the ice cream drizzled with the reduced syrup …and IT WAS!!! Soooo good …a keeper.