January is one of the hottest months of the year here in Adelaide. It’s usually around this time of the year that I’m to be found recumbent in a darkened room, under the gently swishing ceiling fan, whining about the heat and languidly waving away any requests from the ravenous family for me to attend kitchen duties. It’s also the time of year when the local parrots move in to our orchard to ravish the trees, leaving us with nothing but half-eaten fruit rotting on the ground and self-recriminations because, once again, we didn’t get around to netting them.
So far this year we’ve had just the one heat wave – although that was a doozy and resulted in an horrific bushfire in the Adelaide Hills – and for the last week we have been surprised by a spate of very mild days and quite cool nights. So – no whining from me.
However, the parrots haven’t disappointed, showing up in vast numbers to strip my fruit trees of hard, green fruit. All the apples, apricots and peaches are gone, many of the figs and most of the plums. I made an assault on the last of the plum trees myself yesterday. My presumptuousness sent dozens of the garish, green thieves scattering with resentment into nearby eucalypts, where they sat hurling shrill abuse at me until my bucket was full and I retreated, leaving them to the rest of the fruit.
As a result, any opportunity I might have to eat the new season peaches will have to come from purchased fruit and, while the shop-bought stone fruit might look the part, I find it rarely delivers on flavour. However, there is a simple way to enhance the taste of bland stone fruit, perfect for turning them into a sophisticated dessert, and that is to either lightly grill them or roast them (see my Vanilla Roasted Apricots).
This recipe for Pistachio and Rosewater Roasted Peaches is very much a riff on my earlier apricot dish, but is much more elegant and was inspired by an open bag of pistachios I had to use up after Christmas. The addition of rosewater gives the dish a decidedly Middle Eastern feel and if you were very good, you’d serve this with a good thick yoghurt. I served it with cream – judge me all you like!
Pistachio & Rosewater Roasted Peaches
- 4 fresh peaches halved, stone removed
- 180 gms shelled unsalted pistachio nuts, finely chopped
- 1 tsp rosewater
- 5 Tbsp honey
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Grease a shallow oven-proof dish, place peach halves, cut side up, in dish.
- Combine nuts, rosewater and 3 Tblsp honey into a thick paste. Place large spoonful into the hollow of each peach half.
- Drizzle each half with the remaining honey.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, until fruit soft and a little golden.
- Serve with thick yoghurt or cream.