I love fresh peaches, I really do. They are among my favorite fruits, and when they're in season I eat a ton of them. About the only thing bad I can say about peaches is that they are only perfectly ripe for about a milli-second before they start to rapidly deteriorate to a state of shriveled, squishy sadness.
They are much like avocados in this way. When perfectly ripe they are an ethereal treat, but just a day or two after their peak they have lost a lot of their appeal. Timing therefore is everything when it comes to peaches. Watch them closely as they ripen on your counter and be prepared to snarf them down when they achieve their peak of sweetness and their flesh yields just slightly when pressed with your thumb.
So….what to do if you happen to buy too many of the lovelies and despite your best efforts fail to eat them all before they start to turn, or as we recently did, go away for the weekend and return to find them WELL past their peak and begging to be put out of their misery?
Why you make a compote with them, of course.
Serve this sweet treat alongside roasted meat as you would an applesauce, spooned onto your favorite ice cream, atop your morning bowl of oatmeal, or as I have been doing, tossed with some granola and vanilla yogurt for breakfast. Enjoy!
Cheers – Steve
- 6 medium peaches, pitted and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 star anise
- 2 tablespoons water
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- Place all the ingredients into a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Stirring frequently, bring the mix to a gentle boil. Continue cooking until the liquid in the pan has reduced to the consistency of a sauce like you see in the photos, about 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding more sugar or lemon juice to suit your tastes.
- Let cool in the pan. remove the star anise before serving.