Peaches are at their very best right now and we’re especially lucky in Colorado, as the peaches grown on our Western Slopes are some of the best I’ve ever tasted.
You might think that eating a big ripe peach in the bathtub is sublime enough and I’d agree that it’s the least messy way to devour such a juicy explosion of fruit – but here’s a lovely alternative that spices them up a bit; warm spiced peaches are absolutely delicious served over good vanilla or coconut ice cream.
You can go the whole hog and pile whipped cream and chopped toasted pecans on top but I think the cream is unnecessary.
Be careful when buying fresh peaches and avoid those with even the slightest bruise or indentation unless they’re ripe enough to eat immediately; if you plan to ripen them for a few days in a brown paper bag, those marks will develop into brown mushy patches that you’ll need to cut out.
I remember when peaches were all fuzzy and we washed the fuzz off ourselves. Nowadays they’re hard to differentiate from nectarines but no matter; if you buy nectarines by mistake this will work just as well, as long as they’re ripe.
Hummingbirds aren’t required but you might get lucky if you eat this outside.
2 oz (57g) of unsalted butter
6 tablespoons of soft dark brown sugar (packed)
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
½ a teaspoon of ground cardamom
A pinch of ground nutmeg
2 ½ lbs (1.15k) of ripe peaches (or nectarines), stones removed and cut into ¼ – ½ inch (6-12mm) slices
A few chopped, lightly toasted pecans to serve
Enough very good vanilla ice cream to give everyone 2 scoops each
In a wide skillet/saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat, then add the soft brown sugar. Stir well.
Add the vanilla, cardamom and nutmeg and stir everything for about a minute then add the sliced peaches and gently toss to coat with the buttery sugar/spice mix.
Continue to cook gently until the sugar has completely melted and the peaches are tender (but not disintegrating) – about 5-8 minutes.
Serve over ice cream while they’re still warm and perhaps pile whipped cream with chopped toasted pecans on top of that…or not.
You can make the peaches several hours ahead; cover, chill and warm very gently before serving.