Friday, August 20, 2010

Peaches with Honey Sabayon and Chamomile Granita

I happened to be drinking a cup of chamomile tea slightly sweetened with honey and it hit me. Odd how these things happen, but these flavors evoked thoughts of peaches. The next thing I knew I was in the kitchen putting these elements together to see if my hunch would materialize into something fun and delicious.

This is a dessert that is more than the sum of its parts. Fresh peaches are so good right now and when garnished with Honey Sabayon, they become a lovely summer dessert. Add another layer of slightly sweet and cool Chamomile Granita and the whole thing becomes a very different and delicious combination. The bright and pure goodness of peaches in their juices and the honey wine flavor of the sabayon are both heightened by the very subtle herbal sensation of chamomile. As the granita melts into the sabayon, this dessert becomes really unusual and unmistakably divine.

Alhtough this composition may sound complex, once the granita is ready, you can assemble the dessert in about 20 – 25 minutes. It’s a great coda to a summer meal when you’re in the mood to dazzle a plate of simple fresh fruit with a little luscious flair. A bite of freshness, creamy and icy cool all in one remarkable bite.

Bench notes:
- The Chamomile Granita is a frozen dessert so it needs to be made ahead. It can sit in your freezer in an airtight container for about a week or so. Just be sure to continue to scrape it a few times to keep it loose.
- I was going to sweeten the chamomile tea with honey but I really wanted the pure taste of chamomile to shine through so I used sugar instead.
- You can also serve this dessert in parfait glasses, layering with sabayon and peaches and topping with the granita.
- If your honey is granulated or solidified, just warm it gently and it will loosen up and smooth out.
- I'm also wondering how this would taste with the peaches and their juices, honey vanilla ice cream and the Chamomile Granita.

Peaches with Honey Sabayon and Chamomile Granita
Serves 6

Chamomile Granita

2 C water
1/4 C sugar
6 bags or 2 T chamomile tea

Honey Sabayon

3 egg yolks
1/4 C + 1 T honey
1/2 C white wine, such as Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc or white Muscat
1/4 C cold heavy cream

Peaches in Honey Lemon Syrup

4 fresh ripe peaches
1/3 C honey
1/4 warm water
2 - 3 t fresh lemon juice, to taste

To make the Chamomile Granita, bring the water and sugar to a boil and add the tea. Take off the heat and steep for 1 hour. Remove the tea bags, pressing them to extract all the flavor. (If you’re using loose tea, pour through a fine mesh strainer.) Pour the sweetened tea in a shallow airtight container and place in your freezer. After about 2 hours, take a fork and scrape the surface of the granita with a fork to form icy crystals. Place back in the freezer and repeat again a couple of hours later.

To prepare the Honey Sabayon, whisk egg yolks, honey and wine together in a stainless steel bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure that the bowl is not touching the water. Check periodically to see that the water is not boiling. Whisk constantly for 5 - 7 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl, and cook until the mixture is thickened and expanded in volume. Remove from heat and continue whisking for a bit. Set aside to cool.

While the sabayon is cooling, prepare the peaches. Whisk the honey and warm water together until dissolved and blended. Add the lemon juice to taste. Cut the peaches into thin slices and toss with the honey lemon syrup. Set aside, tossing gently a couple of times to keep the peaches coated with the juices.

Finish the sabayon by whisking 1/4 cup of cold heavy cream just until soft peaks form. Fold the cream into the sabayon until well combined.

To assemble, place a dollop of sabayon in each serving dish and layer slices of peaches on top. Add a couple more dollops of sabayon and garnish generously with Chamomile Granita. Serve immediately.


Anonymous said...

How lovely.

Caitlin said...

It's funny, just before I read this I was eating a perfectly ripe California yellow peach, and was amazed at how floral the flavor was. Chamomile granita sounds lovely, and maybe a jasmine tea version would work too.

Kathleen said...


I hadn't recovered from the chocolate fig cake yet, and now this!

But what a way to go!


Lucie said...

Beautiful! The colors meld together absolutely perfectly.

Jessica said...

Yum! Love the flavors you've combined. Genius!

Barbara said...

I do love granitas! And it's such fun to use herbs and other unusual ingredients to make them too. Never thought to use chamomile tea; clever you to have thought of it.

That looks lovely with the peaches and honey sabayon.

Amelia PS said...

what phenomenal combinations of flavors. Chamomile granita? wow. I once had chamomile grappa and it was amazing.

andy said...