Peach and Almond Cakes with Sea Lavender Honey and Peach Ice Cream
Recently, Ross and I were invited to join the Slow Food UK Chef Alliance. It’s a great organisation and we are both truly honoured to be part of it.
We feel that here in the UK we do not do enough to protect and promote our own regional food treasures, and with Slow Food their intention is to do exactly that – to protect our regional foods and spread the word about them. If we look at our European cousins, particularly countries such as Italy, Spain and France, each one is incredibly proud of their own produce and would not even dream of using their neighbour’s ingredients, not to mention importing goods, which would simply not get a look in.
I was asked to create a seasonal recipe for Slow Food UK using an ingredient from the forgotten foods list, and so I have chosen sea lavender honey.
Even for me it was quite difficult to get hold of, but when you are next in East Anglia, especially Norfolk, then do make a point of picking up a jar or two. It’s delicious! If you cannot find sea lavender honey, then substitute local honey from your own region instead.
Ingredients & Method
For the peach and almond cakes
- 250g unsalted butter
- 180g egg whites (4 egg whites)
- 200g caster sugar
- 50g plain flour
- 250g ground almonds
- a pinch of salt
- 3 fresh ripe peaches
For the sea lavender honey and peach ice cream
- 500g fresh ripe peaches (prepared weight), stones removed, flesh cut into rough chunks (skins left on)
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g sea lavender honey
- 300ml double cream
- 150ml full-fat milk
For the peach sauce
- 250g fresh peaches (prepared weight), stoned and roughly diced (skins left on)
- 100g caster sugar
To serve and decorate
- 50g sea lavender honey
- 50g toasted flaked almonds
First, prepare the peach and almond cakes batter. Melt the butter and turn it into beurre noisette. To do this, put the butter into a shallow pan and leave it to melt over a medium heat. Once melted, keep heating the butter until it turns a golden brown colour and smells of hazelnuts. As soon as this happens, remove it from the heat and pour it through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl. Leave it to cool at room temperature for 1 hour.
Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until they form stiff peaks, then gradually whisk in the caster sugar to make a stiff meringue mixture. Add the sifted flour, the ground almonds, salt and cooled beurre noisette and fold in to incorporate, but do not over-mix. Cover and chill in the fridge for 4 hours.
While the batter is resting, prepare the ice cream. Put the peaches, sugar, honey, cream and milk into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, then pour the mixture into an ice-cream maker and churn until frozen (following the manufacturer’s instructions for your particular model). Alternatively, pour the sieved mixture into a shallow, freezer proof container, cover with a lid and freeze until firm, whisking the mixture 3 or 4 times during freezing (every hour or so) to break down the ice crystals and ensure an even-textured result. Keep the ice cream frozen until needed. Allow the ice cream to soften slightly at room temperature or in the fridge before serving.
Meanwhile, make the peach sauce. Place the peaches, sugar and 100ml cold water in a saucepan and cook over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until the peaches are soft. Remove from the heat, then carefully transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl, then chill it rapidly over ice. Once cold, cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
Finish the peach and almond cakes. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line twelve 6 x 5cm metal moulds. Divide the chilled cake batter evenly between the prepared moulds. Slice each peach widthways into four 1cm-thick slices and remove the stone (so that you have 12 whole round slices with a hole in the middle of each one where the stone was), then place 1 slice on top of the cake batter in each mould.
Place the moulds on a baking sheet, then transfer to the oven and bake for 16–18 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown and cooked. Remove from the oven and leave to rest in the moulds for 15 minutes, then carefully remove the cakes from the moulds and place on serving plates.
To serve, drizzle the sea lavender honey over each warm peach and almond cake and decorate with toasted flaked almonds. Serve each portion with the peach sauce and a scoop of the sea lavender honey and peach ice cream.
Any leftover ice cream will keep in an airtight, freezer proof container in the freezer for up to 1 week. Serve with crushed amaretti biscuits and diced (stoned) fresh peaches