Vanilla Honey Peaches with Brandy Sponge Biscuits from Donna Hay Magazine, Summer 2012

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A parent should know better than to ever begin instructions with the word, ‘don’t.’ There is no faster way to guide a child toward doing a thing than to tell them not to.

When I put a glass of water in front of Dudette and say, ‘don’t spill that,’ I know she will. By using that word, I’ve guaranteed it.

As I was peeling peaches this morning, I heard my father talking to my three siblings and me. He had just bought the four of us prickly pear fruit and was explaining how to eat it. This included careful instruction on how to hold it.

‘Don’t let it slip out of your hands,’ he cautioned, immediately causing my brother’s hands to tighten, which catapulted the slippery fruit through the air into the ditch.

Sibling snickering, parental scolding and child sobbing ensued.

I felt bad for my brother as I peeled those peaches over a bowl, trying to keep a good grip on the slippery, wonderful fruit. Prickly pear fruit, like peaches, are very slick when peeled. In fact, I prefer my peaches and nectarines fully clothed simply because they’re so much easier to eat that way.

Unfortunately, for this dish, you will need to peel your peaches.

Don’t let them slip.

The Process
The easiest way to peel peaches is to boil them for a minute, then put them in ice water immediately. The skins should peel right off (but they’ll still be slippery). In truth, that was the hardest part of this dish.

The other components are honey with vanilla bean, whipped cream and brandy syrup. Be careful with the brandy syrup because if it boils down too much, it be comes very thick and the lady finger biscuits won’t absorb it as easily.

The Verdict
Unfortunately, this was a lot more visually appealing than it was tasty. The brandy syrup is good, but typical. I found the half cup of whipped cream to be a lot (and I love whipped cream). The honey syrup was the biggest let down. The vanilla was completely lost in the honey flavor. I couldn’t find it at all. In fact, honey overwhelmed everything.

It could be that my honey, being the basic variety, was too strong. Maybe if a more gourmet variety was used, like orange blossom, the results would be better. I don’t know. Hubby and I were very underwhelmed by this Dudette didn’t want anything to do with it.

What I’d Do Different Next Time
I’d use a simple vanilla syrup (vanilla bean, sugar and water) instead of honey in order to let the peach and brandy syrup shine.

Vanilla Honey Peaches with Brandy Sponge Biscuitsprint this recipe
from Donna Hay Magazine, Summer 2012

3/4 cup honey
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 cup caster (superfine) sugar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup brandy
8 sponge finger biscuits
2 cups single cream, whipped
4 peaches, peeled and halved

Place the honey and vanilla in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until combined. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely. Remove the vanilla bean.

Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, add the brandy and bring to a boil for 3-4 minutes. Pour into a small, shallow dish and set aside to cool completely.

Dip the sponge finger biscuits in the brandy syrup until softened.

Top the biscuits with the cream and peaches and drizzle with vanilla honey to serve. Serves 4.

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