One of my favorite summer treats is Peach Surprise. I made it many times last summer (usually on Thursday nights after yoga, for some reason), and while it was always delicious, it never looked like it was supposed to. The meringue didn't brown, the ice cream leaked out, and I was as messy as a toddler when I finished eating it.
While making my first Peach Surprise of 2011 last week, the peach turned to mush when I pitted it. Rather than get frustrated at myself, I just decided that trying to produce a photo-worthy result was pointless, and there had to be a better way. So I present my adaptation:
Baked Peaches Alaska
2 large peaches, pitted
2 large egg whites (at room temperature)
Pinch of kosher salt
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
½ cup vanilla ice cream
1. Place 2-4 large ramekins in the freezer for at least 10 minutes (though you can obviously do this way ahead of time).
2. Preheat oven to 450° F.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt on medium until foamy. Increase speed to high. Gradually add the sugar, a little at a time, and beat until stiff and glossy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the almond extract.
4. Place a whole peach (if serving two) or half a peach (if serving four)* into each ramekin. The state of the peach (whole, sliced, etc.) is up to your preference and its willingness to cooperate. :) Spoon the ice cream on top of the peach, or into the cavity if you have halves. Mound the meringue on top, being sure to enclose the ice cream.
5. Place ramekins on a cookie sheet and bake until the meringue is golden brown, 2-5 minutes. Serve immediately.
* = The original recipe indicates one peach half per person, but I have to believe that's just for aesthetics. If you want a whole peach, by all means have it. I refuse to feel piggy about eating an entire fruit. :)
As you can see, my meringue still didn't brown (but it was still delicious). Anyone know what I might be doing wrong? Maybe it's my 33-year-old oven?
PS: I must include a picture of the real Peach in my life: :)