Summer Peaches with Baked Meringue

DessertMeringuePeach

Summer peaches need very little enhancement. Here's a play on "peaches and cream" with warm baked peaches topped with marshmallowy whipped meringue. It's a beautiful and simple showstopper for late-summer parties.

Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

I have an adage when it comes to peaches: Travel to the peaches, don’t ask them to travel to you. And when they do arrive as close to home as you can find them, make this simple dessert of peaches topped with meringue.

Buy Fresh, Local Peaches!

I love you, California, but your peaches don’t like to travel, particularly across country. Years of disappointment, spurred by my impatience to grab the first peaches I see in the supermarket, have finally taught me this lesson.

Since I live in Massachusetts, I have to wait until the second half of July for decent local peaches to arrive. (I will often hedge my bets and fall for New Jersey peaches with pretty good luck!)

Sometimes you can find good supermarket peaches imported from other states, but the only way to find out is to buy a few and try them out. If they’re good, go back for more.

Baked Peaches Dessert prepare the peaches

With Peaches, Keep It Simple

After eating your fill of peaches on their own, start on the desserts. Since peaches are so juicy and sweet, and their season is so short, they deserve special treatment.

And by that I mean, almost no treatment at all.

Enter this rustic skillet dessert. Toss some sliced peaches (no need to peel them) in brown butter and brown sugar, infuse them with vanilla and almond, and top them with meringue.

After baking, the peaches soften slightly and release their juices. The meringue topping is slightly crisp on the outside but soft and marshmallowy on the inside.

We all know the flavor combination of peaches and cream, but here, the sweet meringue plays off the tart peaches in a new way that lets the tart peaches shine. Be sure to have a bowl and a big spoon on hand to scoop up the soupy juice.

Peach Dessert Recipe

A Versatile Summer Dessert

But wait, there’s more! This is a great recipe to use all kinds of summer stone fruits: nectarines, plums, pluots or apricots, alone or in combination. Throw in some blueberries or raspberries if you have them. These are all great choices.

In other words, this is a “fly by the seat of your pants” dessert. Its burnished cloud of meringue on top has a huge wow factor. A pretty good bang for a minimal amount of effort!

More Ways to Enjoy Summer Peaches!

Summer Peaches with Baked Meringue Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings

To bring cold eggs to room temperature quickly, set them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes before you separate them.

Ingredients

For the baked peaches:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons amaretto (almond liqueur), or 1 teaspoon of pure almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 medium peaches, halved, pitted and thickly sliced (no need to peel)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the meringue topping:

  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

Special equipment:

  • 9 to 10-inch oven-safe skillet or a similar size ceramic baking dish

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Have on hand a 9- to 10-inch oven-safe skillet, or a similar-sized ceramic baking dish.

2 Make the brown butter: In the skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter solids turn light brown and the butter smells nutty—about 2 to 3 minutes or so.

Immediately remove the pan from the heat. (If using a baking dish for this dessert, brown the butter in a small skillet and transfer it to the baking dish.)

  • Read more about how to brown butter and watch a video HERE.

Peach Dessert with Meringue Recipe make the brown butter

3 Prepare the peaches: Stir the brown sugar, vanilla, Amaretto, and salt into the brown butter. Add the peaches and toss to coat them with the sugar.

Spread them in the pan and sprinkle with the cinnamon.

Baked Peaches Dessert prepare the peaches

4 Make the meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer on low speed using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar until foamy.

Gradually increase the speed and slowly add the sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, until the meringue is thick and glossy and holds firm peaks. (This takes about 3 to 4 minutes.) Fold in the lemon zest.

Easy Peach Dessert with Meringue make the meringue

5 Bake the peaches: With a large spoon, spoon the meringue over the peaches and swirl it gently to give it pretty peaks.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown. It should be firm on top, but still soft in the center.

Peach Dessert with Meringue Recipe swirl the meringue on top

6 Serve: Cool briefly before serving. This dessert is best eaten on the day you serve it, but leftovers will keep for a few days, refrigerated.

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Sally Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas is a freelance writer and the author of three cookbooks (Food for Friends, The Tao of Cooking, Ten Speed Press, and The Cranberry Cookbook). She currently writes the column The Confident Cook for The Boston Globe along with seasonal recipes for the Wednesday Food Section.

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3 Comments / Reviews

No ImageSummer Peaches with Baked Meringue

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Ckz

    Brought home some California peaches on a business trip… well worth it! This was a great pie. It was a bit soupy under the meringue, but the flavor was delicious.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Marta Rivera

    This simple dessert was a dark horse! It was so easy to prepare, but between the crispy, chewy meringue and the syrupy peaches, it was such a classy dessert! Sally wins again!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. yanaf

    You are absolutely correct that the closer you are to where the fruit is grown, the better it is. We are in California and we were traveling across a number of western states a few summers ago and had wonderful peaches grown in Colorado. When we returned the second day to buy some more the lady asked us how her peaches compared to California peaches. Every bit as good and the fact that we got them close to the source was a big part of that.

Baked Peaches DessertSummer Peaches with Baked Meringue