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The Bush Family CookbookFavorite Recipes and Stories from One of America's Great Families
By Ariel De Guzman
ScribnerCopyright © 2005 Ariel De Guzman
All right reserved.
Baked Peaches Flambe
Mrs. Grace Walker shared this recipe with Mrs. Bush. It has been the favorite dessert of Florida's Governor John Ellis Bush and the 43rd President, George Walker Bush, since their childhood. No one can recall who was the first to claim this dessert as his very own favorite, so Mrs. Bush and Paula make sure it is offered every time either one of them comes to visit. According to Paula, when she or Mrs. Bush baked the peaches when the children were a lot younger, the aroma filled the house and gave rise to household jokes such as Jeb or George must have gotten good grades on their report cards, so they're having peaches -- or won a game, or lost a tooth. When one of them comes home for a visit, the sweet peach aroma will still fill the air. The recipe is so simple and easy to prepare, but it's also elegant and very entertaining to serve. Mrs. Bush also added that Aunt Grace and Uncle Lou came over for dinner one night and were served the peaches for dessert. She asked Mrs. Bush wherever did she get this recipe -- not remembering that she gave it to Mrs. Bush.
4 (29-ounce) cans peach halves, drained, liquid reserved
1 cup brown sugar, packed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup brandy, heated
Heavy cream, softly whipped, for serving
Heat oven to 250°.
Fill a 13 x 9-inch glass dish with peach halves, arranging them tightly, cut side up. Set aside. Add brown sugar to reserved peach liquid and stir until sugar dissolves. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Pour over peaches, and tuck in cinnamon. Top each peach half with a dab of butter. Bake for 1 hour, or until the liquid has reduced to a thick syrupy sauce. Allow peaches to cool to room temperature before serving.
Pour heated brandy over peaches and ignite with a match and present the dish to the head of the table while peaches are aflame. Provide serving spoons and dessert plates. The head of the table will serve the peaches (2 per serving) on dessert plates and drizzle the flaming syrup over the peaches. Pass whipped cream around to complement the peaches.
Note: Canned peaches tend to shrink during the hour-long baking, so I make a variation. I boil the reserved peach liquid in a medium saucepan with the sugar, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon until the liquid has turned into a thick and syrupy sauce and has reduced by half. I pour the syrup over the peaches, rearranging in neat rows, if needed. I top each peach with slices of butter and bake peaches for 30 minutes in a 375° oven. I occasionally use 1/4 cup dark rum in place of the brandy for flaming.
Copyright © 2005 by Ariel De Guzman
Excerpted from The Bush Family Cookbook by Ariel De Guzman Copyright © 2005 by Ariel De Guzman.
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