5 Ingredients or Fewer

Peaches Poached with Basil

July  5, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

These peaches poached with basil may well be the perfect summer dessert. It makes brilliant use of summer’s best produce, it is easy but impressive, you can make it ahead, and it’s beautiful and truly unique. The beautiful pink globes served with a drizzle of syrup and a sprig of basil make a lovely plate, but add a small scoop of vanilla ice cream or some sweetened whipped cream if you’d like -- or my favorite, a dollop of mascarpone blended with a little powdered sugar. Under no circumstances should you discard the excess poaching liquid. Keep the pale pink syrup in the fridge in an airtight container. You can drizzle it over plain ice cream or stir it into yogurt, use it to sweeten iced tea, add an outstanding twist to a gin and tonic, or just pour it over ice and top with sparkling water for a real refresher. —TheRunawaySpoon

Test Kitchen Notes

This is a dish that keeps on giving. The peach halves, gently poached in a fragrant syrup of white wine and sugar infused with fresh basil, make a gorgeous, aromatic dessert. As TheRunawaySpoon notes, the leftover syrup, tinted a rosy pink from the peach skins (which conveniently slip right off once the fruit is tender), should be reserved and savored: drizzle it over ice cream, or use it to perk up sparkling water or prosecco. Note: using non-clingstone peaches will make your life easier here! - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large bunches fresh basil
  • 6 yellow peaches
  1. Place the wine, 1 1/2 cups water and sugar in a wide bottomed saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar slightly. Place the pan on the stove over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes and then reduce the heat, leaving the syrup to simmer gently.
  2. Cut the peaches in half and remove pits gently. Drop half of the basil leaves into the syrup, and then gently place the peach halves cut side down into the syrup. Poach for about 3 minutes and then gently turn over using a slotted spoon. Continue poaching for an additional 3 – 4 minutes, until soft (cooking time will depend on ripeness of peaches). Carefully prick the cut side of the peaches to check for tenderness. The peels should be wrinkling up as well. You may cook the peaches in two batches if all the halves will not fit in the pan at once.
  3. Remove the peaches to a plate with a slotted spoon. When they are cool enough to handle, gently slide the skins off and discard. Add all but about six basil leaves to the syrup and bring to a boil; boil until reduced by about half. Pour any juices that have collected on the plate with the peaches into the syrup. Leave to cool to room temperature.
  4. The peaches can be covered with plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for several hours. When ready to serve, place two peach halves on a plate and drizzle with a little basil syrup. Reserve the remaining syrup for another use. Garnish with basil leaves and serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • DeArmasA
  • Hilarybee
  • Kitchen Butterfly
    Kitchen Butterfly
  • Food-G
  • whatsjohneating
I think I am like most people. Somewhere in the middle between food snob and food schlub. Just being in the kitchen makes me happy.

30 Reviews

mike August 1, 2019
Used a 2015 white gewurztraminer from pentage, slightly sweet. Was a very simple and delicious recipe and loved saving the syrup for tomorrow's desert!
JBF O. August 26, 2016
What is the best white wine to use for poaching?
kim September 8, 2014
This recipe is just simply fantastic. My guests were wowed, and the next morning I served the leftover peaches mixed with some of the syrup over french toast--to die for. The syrup is the best thing about this recipe. I shared it with my daughter who has been stirring it into greek yogurt. I stirred it into some iced tea for a delicious treat! This is my favorite recipe of the summer!
laurent August 3, 2014
How much water? The ingredients said 1 1/2 c sugar only but the instruction said water and sugar.
paseo August 3, 2014
I think you can assume it's all of the sugar.
MrsWheelbarrow August 3, 2014
It's 1-1/2 cups of water, 1-1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup wine.
SarahM July 7, 2012
I made this last night with peaches that simply wouldn't let go of their pits. So I sliced them instead and left the skins on--which was a huge hit and super-easy. (Tonight, we're planning to make drinks with the leftover syrup, swapping it for simple syrup.) I'll definitely make this again!
teamom July 26, 2011
Superb recipe. Simple, refined, and made with everything readily at hand. In good years, my parents have a plethora of peaches, and monster amounts of basil. This makes good use of both. This year I'm trying canning them. They work perfectly atop a cream tarte.
Toriaballet September 7, 2010
I tried this and loved the sauce and found the recipe worked perfectly. I used a Pinot Grigio for the syrup. I found that I am not crazy about poached peaches, I find them to be just bland and with the sauce they become bland and sweet. It could have been that my peaches were not that flavorful to begin with, who knows. But the sauce is worth making even if you feed the peaches to the dog :) I used the sauce the next day on french toast and sliced the peaces on top. The syrup tasted wonderful on the french toast. I will also be whipping it with some cream later on to use with fruit or some other type of pastry.
Ann M. September 4, 2010
I made half the recipe yesterday afternoon, as I only had three peaches, but sliced them up and arranged them around the sweetened marscapone to make four servings. The recipe was easy to follow and worked perfectly. There is left over sauce, which I need to figure out how to use. I used a Seyval Blanc wine (Illinois) which is much like a cross between a Sauvignon Blanc and a Burgundian Chardonnay, which worked very well. The basil really came through, although I used less of it than the recipe called for. The house smelled wonderful for hours!
DeArmasA August 3, 2010
I just made this tonight - FABULOUS!!!!!!!!
Hilarybee July 31, 2010
Finally! Ripe peaches and this recipe makes insanely delicious peaches. Wow!
Kitchen B. July 25, 2010
It looks absolutely gorgeous. I'm going to try it, subbing agave for the sugar! Let you know how it goes
Kitchen B. July 31, 2010
I made this yesterday with ginger wine in place of the white wine - well, the only white I had was prosseco and I couldn't open the bottle so I used my negelected ginger wine.....it was lovely with some icecream - I love the reddish blush on the good peaches I had (I had a couple that were hard and didn't look pretty - those will be compoted or jammed!). My guests loved it, it was a snap to make and you definitely got a dose of basil. Thanks for a great recipe
paseo July 25, 2010
This really deserved to win - it is simple and truly delicious - tasted as good as it looked. The resulting syrup alone is worth the making, once the peaches were gone it was great w/yoghurt and vanilla ice cream both. I think it would work with pears later in the season as well.
Food-G July 22, 2010
Congratulations on your win! This is a beautiful and simple recipe. I made it a couple days ago, and although I struggled with both the pits and skins of my clingstone peaches, I enjoyed the finished result --even if the peaches were a bit more mangled than the ones in the photo : ).

I diced the leftover peaches and stored them in the syrup, and have been enjoying them for breakfast, stirred into plain Greek yogurt with a bit of the syrup. Scrumptious. Also used the syrup to make a lovely peach-scented prosecco spritzer. This recipe goes for miles.
Ann M. September 4, 2010
Thanks for the suggestions about how to use the leftover syrup. I'll add it to my yogurt and granola in the morning.
whatsjohneating July 22, 2010
Made this tonight with white peaches and rosé instead of white wine. It was delish! Great recipe.
JoanG July 21, 2010
Your recipe inspired me to concoct a peach and basil herbal iced tea, using peach passion tea and basil. I love it! The flavors work so well together. Thanks!
Hilarybee July 16, 2010
This looks really lovely. Unfortunately, it is still early for peaches where I live. I will definitely use the recipe when I do get peaches, but would like to try it sooner. Do you think this could work with golden plums?
TheRunawaySpoon July 16, 2010
I have never tried this with any other fruit...I am not sure plums would soak up the syrup as nicely, and the peels wouldn't slip off. But the combination of basil and plums sounds good, so give it a try!
MrsWheelbarrow July 15, 2010
What a pretty recipe. I'll be making this soon. Congratulations!
Sunchowder July 15, 2010
These look fabulous! I have about 20 lbs of peaches in the walk in right now and I am very tempted to set some aside just to try this. Kudos to you Runaway Spoon!
Lizthechef July 15, 2010
Love simple, elegant summer recipes such as yours - peaches are so perfect right now!
slicknik25 July 15, 2010
my csa pickup consisted of 5lbs of peaches and basil --- i'm thrilled to have found this recipe!