This is beautiful and refreshing. It’s worth growing lemon verbena in your garden for its incredible smell alone. Before it dries up for the winter I collect and dry as many leaves as I can and then I can’t wait for summer again. I always drink it as a tea with a little honey.
Here, I have poached peaches in a lemon verbena infusion. The peaches I love are white with tinges of red in their skin and through their flesh. This gives a beautiful colour to the syrup. If you can’t get these peaches, add a couple of raspberries to the poaching liquid.
Put the sugar, water and honey in a pot just big enough to take the peaches side by side. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and add the whole peaches. If necessary, top up the water level to just cover the peaches (but not so much that the syrup will be diluted). Tuck in the lemon verbena. Tear off a square of baking paper larger than the diameter of your pot and press it down onto the tops of the peaches. Simmer gently (rapid boiling may cause the fruit to break up) until poached, but still firm and holding their shape well, about 8 minutes.
Remove the peaches to a flat bowl to cool for a bit. When they’re cool enough to handle, slip off the skins — they should come away like silk dresses. If not, return them to their bath to simmer a while longer. Leave the syrup in the pot to cool.
Meanwhile, make the mascarpone cream. In a small bowl, gradually mix together the cream and mascarpone. Add the icing sugar and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
Serve a cooled peach in a flat bowl with syrup and a good spoonful of mascarpone cream.
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