Peches au Massepain

A lovely ending to a dinner party, Peches au Massepain (pehsh oh mah-spahn) may be prepared ahead but must be assembled just before serving.

2 teaspoons cornflour

8 oz. Marzipan I

8 oz. sugar

12 fl. oz. water

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

4 peaches, blanched, peeled, halved and stones removed

6 fl. oz. Apricot Glaze

5 fl. oz. Creme Chantilly

2 tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

Sprinkle the cornflour over the working surface and roll out the marzipan into a rectangle about J-inch thick. With a 3- inch round pastry cutter, cut the marzipan into 8 circles. Line 8 patty tins with the marzipan circles.

Place the patty tins in the oven and bake the marzipan for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized sauce-pan dissolve the sugar in the water over low heat, stirring constantly. Add the lemon rind, increase the heat to moderate and bring the syrup to the boil. Add the peach halves, cut sides up. Reduce the heat to low and simmer them for 3 to 5 minutes or until they are just tender. Remove the pan from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the peach halves from the pan and place them on a plate to drain and cool. Discard the syrup or reserve it for future use.

Remove the patty tins from the oven and allow the marzipan cases to cool completely in the tins.

Remove the marzipan cases from the patty tins and arrange them on a serving dish. Place a peach half, rounded side down, in each case. Spoon the apricot glaze over the peach halves.

Spoon the creme chantilly into a forcing bag fitted with a ½ inch star nozzle. Pipe swirls of cream over the peach halves. Sprinkle the cream with the pistachio nuts and serve immediately.