I love this recipe and it's a great way to use peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots when they are in season and inexpensive. Serving them with vanilla meringues is a great combo. The fruit can be stored in the fridge and eaten over several days. And the meringues keep very well in an airtight tin. I've not added a photo of the meringues (they are still in the oven!). Above you can see that I have used nectarines and a few random apricots.
4 egg whites
250g (8oz/1cup) caster (superfine) sugar - for the meringues
2 vanilla beans, split
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
6 peaches, stones removed and cut in half - you can use nectarines as I have done and any other stone fruit
250ml (9fl oz/1 cup) good dessert wine
3 tablespoons raw caster (superfine) sugar - for the fruit
300 ml (101/2 fl oz) creme fraiche or thick cream
Preheat over to 110C (22f/Gas 1/2).
Line two large baking trays with baking paper.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in half the sugar until very shiny, then add the remaining sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.
Scrape out the seeds from one vanilla bean and stir them into the egg whites, along with the vanilla extract.
Spoon the mixture onto the two baking trays to form six 10-12 cm (4-4 1/2 inch) rounds. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until crisp and golden. Turn the oven off, open the door slightly and leave the meringues until cool enough to handle. Peel them off the baking paper and put them on a rack to cool.
Turn the oven temperature up to 210c (415F/Gas 6-7). Put the fruit, cut side up, in a single layer in a baking dish. Pour over the wine and sprinkle with the raw sugar. Cut the remaining vanilla bean into thirds and add to the baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes or until the peaches are soft and slightly caramelised on top (I leave mine much longer than 15 min). Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Divide the meringues among six serving plates and top with a dollop of creme fraich or cream. Add two peach halves to each plate and drizzle with the syrup from the baking dish. Garnish with the vanilla bean pieces.
For a more interesting flavour, try this recipe:
Roasted stone fruits with vanilla
6 apricots, 3 peaches, 3 nectarines - halved and stoned
175g / 6oz golden caster sugar
1 vanilla pop, split in 2
5 cardamom pods
Zest and juice of 1 lime (I usually use 2 limes)
Tip the sugar, vanilla pod, cardamom and lime zest and juice into a food processor and blitz until blended.
Put fruit in shallow baking dish and toss it with the sludgy sugar mix.
Roast for 20 minutes or until juices have made a sticky sauce but fruit is not collapsed. You can keep this in the fridge for up to 4 days. It's divine!
And if you have a glut of plums in the house:
140g/5 oz white granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg white
12 red plums
butter, for the dish
Heat oven to 200C/gas 6.
Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
Whisk the egg white, then roll the plums first in egg white, then in the cinnamon sugar until very well coated in a sugary crust.
Space apart in a buttered baking dish and bake for 15 mins or until the plums are crusty, cooked through and starting to be juicy. To test, poke in a cocktail stick. Serve warm.
What to do with leftover egg yolks
Did you know that you can freeze egg yolks? I hope you don't throw them away after making meringues or any other recipe that requires only egg whites. Make lemon curd with them (divine) or custard, ice-cream, rice pudding.
Place one egg yolk in each ice cube cavity of a clean ice cube tray.
Add a pinch of salt to each yolk (if you plan to eventually use them in savoury recipes) or a pinch of sugar (if you will use them in sweet recipes).
Freeze overnight until solid, then transfer to an airtight freezer bag.
To use, thaw in refrigerator and then mix well. They will keep in the freezer for up to three months. Leftover egg yolks can also be refrigerated for 3-4 days.
What to do with leftover vanilla pods
They are so expensive so I never throw them away once I've scraped out the seeds. I have a jar of sugar that I add my vanilla pods to and they give the sugar the most heavenly flavour.