Peaches with Vanilla-Red Wine Syrup and Ice Cream

The cassia buds in the syrup are the dried, unopened flowers from trees that produce cinnamon from their bark. They have a peppery flavor and are available in specialty-food stores or by mail order. A crushed cinnamon stick is an acceptable substitute.

If you peaches don't taste especially sweet, sprinkle the wedges with a tablespoon or two of sugar; assemble the dessert, spooning the juices over the peaches.

Slideshow: Beautiful Desserts

  • Servings: 6

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  • 1 bottle (750 ml) rich red wine, such as Chianti or Barbera
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice berries, coarsely crushed
  • 8 cassia buds or one 4-inch cinnamon stick, crushed
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe peaches, peeled and cut into 8 wedges each
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream

How to make this recipe

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, vanilla bean, peppercorns, allspice, cassia and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring once or twice, until reduced to 1 cup, about 25 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Strain and let cool to room temperature; if the syrup is too thick, stir in a few tablespoons of cold water.

  2. Scoop the ice cream into individual bowls and top with the peach wedges. Drizzle each dessert with a few tablespoons of wine syrup and serve.

Contributed By Published August 1999

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