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Perfect match: stone fruit salad with botrytis semillon

You'll need

150 ml dessert wine 75 gm (1/3 cup) caster sugar 5 each peaches and nectarines, halved, stones removed, cut into wedges To serve: mint   Peach and buttermilk ice-cream 2 yellow peaches, coarsely chopped 40 ml dessert wine 140 gm caster sugar 250 ml (1 cup) thickened cream 2 tbsp liquid glucose 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped Finely grated rind of ½ lemon 6 egg yolks 300 ml buttermilk


  • 01
  • For peach and buttermilk ice-cream, preheat oven to 180C. Toss peaches, dessert wine and 2 tbsp sugar in a small bowl to combine, then spread on an oven tray and roast until peaches are tender (15-20 minutes). Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth, cool, then refrigerate until required. Meanwhile, bring cream, glucose, vanilla bean and seeds and lemon rind just to the simmer in a saucepan over medium heat, then remove from heat and set aside to infuse (30 minutes). Whisk yolks and remaining sugar in a heatproof bowl until pale (3-5 minutes). Return cream mixture to heat and bring to just below the boil, then, whisking continuously, add cream mixture to yolk mixture in a thin, steady stream. Transfer to a clean saucepan and stir continuously over low-medium heat until mixture coats the back of a spoon thickly (7-10 minutes). Strain though a fine sieve and refrigerate until cold (1 hour). Stir in buttermilk and freeze in an ice-cream machine, then fold through peach purée to form a ripple effect and freeze until firm.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, stir dessert wine and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves, simmer until syrupy (7-10 minutes), set aside to cool.
  • 03
  • Combine stone fruit in a large bowl, drizzle over syrup, toss to combine, scatter with mint and serve with peach and buttermilk ice-cream.

A few years ago a producer of sweet, botrytis-affected semillon challenged a famous chef to come up with the perfect dessert match. I can't remember now exactly what the dish was, but I remember very clearly how spectacularly well it went with the wine. And I can recall the main ingredients it contained: stone fruit (nectarines, peaches) to match the ripeness of the semillon grapes that were picked very late in the season; lots of honey and sugar to match the intense sweetness of those grapes that had been shrivelled and dried out by the noble rot, botrytis cinerea; plus some caramelisation and some cream to match the toasty characters and vanilla softness of the oak barrels the wine had been matured in. This dish involves all the same elements, from stone fruit to dairy (buttermilk's a nice twist, because it has a sourness that matches the wine's acidity), plus the syrupy richness in the ripple in the ice-cream. Served too cold, ice-cream can numb the tastebuds and make wine taste flavourless, so let the ice-cream soften a little before serving, and choose a wine with enough weight and sweetness to handle the cold.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

Jan 2011

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