White Peach, Raspberries & Champagne Sorbet Recipe

Serves 8

4 White peaches, ripe but still firm
1 bottle (75cl) Champagne of your choice
500g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split open
400g raspberries
Lemon juice, if needed
400ml double cream
Icing sugar to taste

  1. Take two bowls and fill three-quarters of one with iced water. Place the peaches in the other bowl, cover them with boiling water and let them stand for at least 20 seconds. Now drain the peaches and put them into the iced water. Gently rub off the skins, though don’t discard them.
  2. Take the peach skins and put them, with the champagne and the sugar, into a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add them along with the pod to the saucepan. Bring just to the boil, but keep stirring to get the sugar dissolved.
  3. Add the peaches and poach them at a gentle bubbling simmer, turning them over occasionally, for about five minutes or until they are just tender. Test with a cocktail stick: it should go through easily. Take the saucepan off the heat and let the peaches cool in the syrup.
  4. Put two to three tablespoons of the poaching syrup, along with 250g of the raspberries, into a food processor and blend to a puree. Work this puree through a fine nylon sieve and then taste. If you think it needs it, add some more of the poaching syrup and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  5. Take the peaches out of the syrup with a slotted spoon, cut them in half and remove the stones. Cover the peaches in order to stop them drying out and leave them aside at room temperature.
  6. Take the poaching syrup and strain it through a fine sieve and then chill it. Taste when it is fully cold and check that it has a good, pronounced champagne flavour. There’s no point in using champagne or good sparkling wine if you’re going to disguise it. If you think it could do with it, add a bit more. If it seems too sweet, it just needs a bit of lemon juice. Don’t forget that freezing will diminish the flavour, so you have to be sure that it tastes strongly enough before you carry on to the next step.
  7. Pour the mixture into an ice-cream machine and freeze it. As soon as it is softly frozen, transfer it to a freezer- proof container and put it into the freezer to ‘mature’ for an hour or so. If you need to leave it in the fridge for longer than an hour, remember to take it out and put it into the fridge for 20 minutes before serving. Otherwise, it may be just too hard.
  8. Take the remaining raspberries and put them in a bowl with the cream and sweeten with about one teaspoon of icing sugar or whatever you think does the job. Whisk together until the cream is thick and nicely streaked with raspberry juice. You don’t want a smooth texture here.
  9. To serve, spoon the raspberry fool into soup plates or dessert glasses and top each with half a peach and a scoop of sorbet. Drizzle the raspberry sauce over the peaches.