As I recall, the peaches were from Chile and at this time of year they would be classified as early-season peaches; in the U.S. our early season peaches are picked in June and July. And why is this important? Because early peaches cling to their pits tenaciously. Which is not a good thing for this particular dessert. The cut-and-twist method, which works well with late-season (August) peaches, is the easiest way to pit a peach. But that trick doesn't work with early peaches. You'll end up with a handful of peach pulp, juice running down your arm and the pit will stay right where it is, stubbornly stuck to the other half, with yet more pulp hanging off. I know. I tried.
I really wanted my halves to look reasonably neat, so in the end I took a sharp paring knife and cut the peach from top to bottom and then worked the knife carefully around the pit. This was NOT an easy job, but I ended up not mangling them too badly. This dish will look much prettier in August, but I wanted, no needed, to make this dessert right now! I know you've all had the identical feeling when you've seen a photo of a mouth-watering new recipe. Anyway, Sophie leaves the skin on and I did too. My guess is without the skin they'd turn to mush, but it's your decision.
I wasn't kidding about how simple this recipe is. Healthy too. Perfect summer dessert. Perfect for company. The only catch about making it this time of year is the pit problem. But don't let that stop you if you happen to see some. They get all caramelized and gooey. And the yogurt topping? Divine. I promise not to rave on about this cookbook again, but it really is a lovely one.
Cinnamon Roast Peaches with Vanilla Yogurt
4 peaches, ripe but firm
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter or sunflower oil
2 cups Greek yogurt (you can use lo-fat if you want)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon agave syrup or honey
fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 450°. Wash and halve the peaches, removing the pit. Place them in a small roasting pan. Sprinkle each half with cinnamon and brown sugar and dot with butter or oil.
Roast for 10 minutes (It took me 15 minutes and then I stuck them under a broiler for a bit to get them as brown as Sophie's were. All ovens are different. But this is pretty much what hers looked like, as well as her pan.)
While the peaches are roasting, stir the agave or honey and vanilla extract into the yogurt and set aside.
Serve the peaches warm or room temperature with a spoonful of the yogurt mixture and add some mint if you want to be fancy for company.
Serves 4, or 2 if you're really into these as much as I was.