I’ve been meaning to write about this delicious dessert for a while, and Kevin’s post yesterday about his discovery of the beauty of peaches is a good segue. A good friend of the Junta made this when I was in San Francisco, with glorious peaches, and glorious figs. But they were made all the more glorious by some time spent in the oven, bathed in honey and sweet wine. Because as much as I love eating a peach whole, juices dripping, on a hot afternoon, I also love eating a peach sliced up and caramelized to warm my tummy on a crisp summer San Francisco night.
Even mealy peaches — and most fruit and vegetables for that matter (as I wrote about with tomatoes) — can usually be redeemed by some roasting. The dish will be better, I imagine, if you start with good, fresh basic ingredients, but since roasting basically concentrates the flavor (and texture) of the item being roasted, it’s not the end of the world if it’s a little bland, and a little mushy.
The figs are a nice touch here. Many people, I think, are wary of figs. I’m not sure why, other than that figs are really hard to get perfectly ripe. Often they are pink/pale inside, and almost tough when you bite into them. They should be purplish, and oozing, and soft to the touch. The pink ones won’t do a ton when roasted (that’s too lost a cause), but even a halfway decent fig should become really wonderful when cooked. This recipe is, in fact, based on a recipe for roasted figs, not roasted peaches. So really, the peaches are the intruders here.
Stone fruits should stay in season for the next month at least, and now that the weather is cooling down (welcome fall!), this is actually a somewhat feasible recipe for an apartment not in San Francisco’s consistently brisk climate.
Adapted from the Chez Panisse Café Cookbook. Note: I wasn’t actually the one overseeing this, just slicing the fruit, so hopefully I have correctly replicated it here. It is pretty intuitive, though, just watch the fruit so it doesn’t overcook, which is hard to do in the first place.
4 peaches, pitted, and quartered
1 pint figs, stems trimmed, and halved lengthwise
1/3 cup honey, warmed
¼ cup sweet wine, such as vin santo or Sauternes
1 ½ tbsp. sugar
– Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange peach quarters in a casserole or Pyrex baking dish, flat side down. Nestle fig halves in between peach quarters, so casserole is tightly filled.
– Mix warm honey with wine and ¼ cup of water. Drizzle over fruit. Sprinkle sugar over top.
– Bake fruit in the oven for 30-40 minutes, checking occasionally. Turn temperature down to 375 degrees F after about 10 minutes. Fruit should be tender and caramelized when done. Let cool slightly. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for maximum deliciousness.