The recipe caught my eye while I was browsing through the “Desserts by the Yard”. The peaches called “Saturn rings” were so cute and the way of cooking them and serving was very promising. But honestly I thought I’d never be able to find them here; even Sherry described them as unique and not-so-easy-available. She had to persuade a farmer to sell the peaches to her (she wanted all three available cases at once). And only after revealing her recipe to the farmer (must be good, right?), she got what she wanted.
I was so pleasantly surprised when I spotted exactly the same peaches in my local farm market. They were offered under less impressive name – “Fancy Doughnut Peaches”, but there were no doubts – these were The Peaches from the book. The peaches themselves were so good – sweet and juicy, so, I was asking myself why I was doing all this (described a moment later) to them when we could eat them as is… But, macerated in lemon verbena syrup, coated with anise and pistachio biscotti crumbs, then baked and served warm from the oven with vanilla ice cream (the peaches shape was perfect for holding the ice cream well), they made a terrific dessert everyone enjoyed. I bet a pistachio ice cream would be wonderful here, too.
I used half of the biscotti made earlier for coating 6 about 3-inch wide peaches. Sherry in her recipe used the same amount for coating 12. But my intuition told me it’s not gonna be enough (yes, I developed a useful habit – listening to my inner voice :). The half batch of biscotti was just the right amount (smart me :). I also added more pistachios to the crushed biscotti, well… because there’s no such thing as too much of pistachios, and it gave the crumbs brighter (greener) look.
Another thing I wanted to mention. If the same peaches are not available in your area, you can substitute them to regular ones. Just peel them, cut in half vertically, remove their stones, bake them cut side up, and later on fill a stone holes with ice cream. It should work. If you can’t get the lemon verbena, you can add grated lemon zest to the marinating syrup instead. Either way, the recipe is worth a try. It’s delicious.
Makes 6 servings
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 4 whole lemon verbena leaves or grated zest of 2 lemons
- 6 doughnut peaches
- About ½ cup flour
- 1 large egg
- Half batch of anise and pistachio biscotti, coarsely crushed
- 2 tbsp coarsely chopped pistachios
- About 2 tbsp confectioners; sugar
- Vanilla ice cream for serving
- About 2 tbsp finely chopped pistachios for sprinkling
Place the sugar, water, and lemon verbena leaves or lemon zest in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. When the sugar has dissolved, remove the mixture from the hat. Cool the syrup completely.
Skin the peaches. To loosen their skins and make peeling easier, Plunge the peaches into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds and then into a bowl of ice water. Peel the skin. Carefully run a small paring knife around the stones, then poke the stones out, leaving a hole in the center.
Pour the syrup into a glass or ceramic dish (large pie plate will do) and place the peeled peaches in the cooled verbena syrup to macerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours, turning them occasionally. I macerated them longer (the peaches were ripe but firm) without any adverse affect to their texture or flavor.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Place the flour in a small bowl. In another small bowl, whisk the egg to break it up. In a shallow dish, combine the biscotti crumbs and chopped pistachios. Arrange the bowls of flour and egg and the dish of crumbs side by side. Remove a peach from the syrup and let it drain slightly, then dip it in the flour to lightly coat. Shake off the excess, then dip it in the egg to coat. Shake off any excess, then roll in the biscotti crumbs. Press the crumbs to pack them. Place the crumb-covered peach on the prepared baking sheet. Continue the dipping and crumb-coating process with the remaining peaches. Pack any leftover crumbs into the stone holes, dividing the crumbs between the peaches. The crumb-coated peaches can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours before baking.
When ready to bake, center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the peaches for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan from front to back and continue to bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until golden on the outside and the peaches are tender when pierced with a tester. Remove from the oven and dust the “doughnuts” with the confectioners’ sugar. Serve with vanilla ice cream, sprinkled with some finely chopped pistachios if you wish.