Makes 4 servings
This refreshing summertime dessert features perfectly sweet and ripened lemongrass poached peaches with glorious lashings of whipped cream. You can easily substitute nectarines for the peaches.
This recipe calls for a parchment cartouche. You’re probably thinking, “What the parchment is that?” It sounds much fancier than it is. A cartouche is just a round piece of parchment paper cut to fit whatever pot or pan you use for poaching. It’s a fantastic technique when poaching or simmering because it gently holds down whatever food you’re cooking and yields a more evenly and quickly poached product. When you use a lid, it can create more steam than you need or want and not poach as evenly. So whatever pot or pan you use for your peaches, simply cut a round piece of parchment to sit and fit perfectly inside the pan and on top of the peaches, and you’ve done it! You’ve cartouche’d!
First prepare the lemongrass stalks by whacking them a few times with either a heavy knife or wooden spoon. You don’t need to kill them, just a few good whacks to help release the oil and aroma. Then slice the stalks in half lengthwise.
Using a paring knife, carefully score the bottom of the peaches or nectarines with a cross, being careful not to cut too deep.
Cut your parchment cartouche to fit whatever pan you’ll be using (3.5-quart saucepan used here).
Combine the lemongrass stalks, water and sugar into the pot and, on medium heat, bring to a gentle boil. Cook on medium heat for 8 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved, stirring often.
After 8 minutes, add the fruit to the pan score-side down and cover with the parchment cartouche, ensuring that it is covering all the fruit and holding it down. Cook until tender when a knife is inserted, about 8 to 10 minutes for nectarines and 10 to 12 minutes for peaches, depending on how ripe and large the fruit was to begin with. You want it tender but not mushy.
Once the fruit is poached to tender, turn off the heat and transfer the fruit to a bowl using a slotted spoon to cool fully before handling.
Strain the poaching liquid into a small pitcher or bowl and set aside, discarding the lemongrass stalks.
While the fruit is cooling, make the vanilla cream. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the cream. With an electric mixer, whip on medium speed until the whipping cream has thickened and has stiff peaks, about 3 to 4 minutes. Keep in the refrigerator until needed.
Once the fruit is cool enough to handle carefully, peel off the skin, using the scoring at the bottom of each piece to help peel more easily.
To serve: Plate one peeled peach per person on a small plate or bowl and serve with a generous dollop of the vanilla cream. Either you can drizzle some of the reserved poaching liquid on top of the peach, or you can let your guests drizzle if desired. It’s delicious either way. Enjoy!
Jilly Lagasse began cooking as a child when her father, Chef Emeril Lagasse, gave her a set of chef’s whites and let her help in the pastry and dessert department in one of his restaurants. She was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2004 and has written two gluten-free cookbooks with her sister, Jessie Lagasse Swanson, as the duo The Lagasse Girls, www.lagassegirls.com. She splits her time between New Orleans and New York doing special cooking events and gluten-free pop-ups.
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