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One French word: pêche, a French recipe: Pêches pochées

So many people have wondered where I’d disappeared to… A year of doing other things, creating art, writing, and cooking of course. But here I am, I’m back! I shall no longer attempt to post every day, the tasks involved are just too time-consuming. What about Wednesdays or Thursdays, just once a week, to give you time to shop for ingredients before wow-ing your family and friends with a French meal at the weekend? Or no schedule at all, maybe I’ll just write when I have a recipe I just can’t keep to myself?

So let’s get back to work!

You’ll notice I have finally figured out the way to add audio clips of the pronunciation of a few words into the text. I shall gradually update all past posts, I hope this will help you and that you will practise repeating the words and phrases.  I have left the written description of the sound as well.

Pêche is a complicated word, it means several things, and can be written with different accents.

pêche (feminine noun), la pêche, une pêche, des pêches = peach, pronounced paysh  

un pêcher = a peach tree 

NOT to be confused with un péché = a sin, un péché mortel = a mortal sin, pécher = to sin, commettre un péché = to commit a sin, un pécheur = a sinner

or with

la pêche = fishing, pêcher = to fish, un pêcheur = a fisherman

Expressions using pêche (in the sense of peach) :

la peau de pêche  , meaning either literally  complexion, a skin like a peach, but it is also a type of material, sort of suedey, velvety like peach skin.

avoir la pêche  =  to be on good form

And to do with fishing:

une canne à pêche = a fishing rod, “bonne pêche” = tight lines (or have a good day’s fishing), un garde-pêche = a game warden (fishing warden), un droit de pêche = fishing rights, un permis de pêche = a fishing permit

And finally in the sense of a sin:

un péché de jeunesse  = a sin of youth

un péché mignon  = something you have a weakness for, ex. shoes, or chocolate. (What’s your péché mignon ?)

My recipe today is for Pêches Pochées, poached peaches 


We have had, for once, a really glorious summer, and fruit is plentiful and ripe. This recipe is so simple, but very impressive, and I’ll suggest a few ways in which it can be dressed up.

Ingredients :

  • 1 ripe yellow peach per person (buy the most colourful peaches possible, with deep red skins)
  • Icing sugar
Simple ingredients

Simple ingredients


  • Wash the peaches quickly. Place a pan of water on to boil, large enough for the water to cover all the peaches.
  • When the water simmers, gently lower the peaches WITH THEIR SKINS ON into the pan. Bring back to a very gentle boil and poach for one minute. (If you have doubts as to the ripeness of your peaches, make that 2 minutes, but much better to choose ripe fruit.)
  • Remove with a slotted spoon, place on kitchen paper to drain and cool just enough to be able to handle them.
  • With a sharp unserrated knife (so as not to leave scratches on the surface of the peach), remove the skin. (Actually, once you have made a nick in the skin, it almost slides off with just a little help from your forefinger.)
  • Sprinkle lightly with icing sugar (through a sieve so as not to have little lumps). This will melt with the heat of the peach and glaze the fruit.
Poached but not yet skinned

Poached but not yet skinned

These peaches can be eaten just like that. It is better not to handle them once the icing sugar has been added, so if you do want to make a more complicated dessert, only add the icing sugar at the end, but be aware that if the peach is no longer warm, the sugar will not melt and glaze.

They are tricky to eat just as they are, difficult to “get hold of” even with a fork, and can slip and slide and even shoot across the table on occasion. Best to serve them in bowls or glasses that will prevent them from doing this.

You can also cut them in half and stone them just after peeling, this will make them easier to eat; and use these halves to make peach melba, with cream and ice cream and some red currant jelly. Or serve them on a bed of creamy rice pudding (my favourite!). Or good old English custard (crème anglaise in French).

With creamed rice

With creamed rice

I have photographed two variations, one with creamed rice in the bottom of a martini glass, with a tiny dribble of peach liqueur on top, and the poached peach on top of that. And a slice of wholemeal brioche which I turned into pain perdu, cut into triangles with a poached peach. I just had this for my lunch, and the peach was so beautifully ripe that it was no problem separating it from its stone on the dessert plate. But I have to say that I bought wholemeal brioche to kid myself into thinking I’m eating healthily, and it’s not nearly as nice as ordinary brioche, or gâche vendéenne (a speciality of the Vendée region of France) with which I usually do my pain perdu.

With pain perdu

With pain perdu

The colour that transfers from the skin to the peach is simply stunning and the sheen of the icing sugar sets this off beautifully. Good for candlelit dinners, they glow. Guests are usually pretty impressed and never guess it has been so easy to prepare.

Do take advantage of the summer season to buy some really ripe, tasty peaches for the weekend.

Bon appétit!


About OneFrenchWord

I was a professional linguist and have been a life-long foodie. I am now lucky enough to be retired and free to roam the beaches around my home at the tip of the Finistère (Brittany, France). Writing is occupying a larger place in my life, with this blog and a children's book in preparation. I shall feel much happier calling myself a writer when I have published a book. And so posts on OneFrenchWord will be published first as an e-book, my ambition being to see a glossy volume on French language and cuisine in print some day. So keep reading, and snap up the book when it appears!

13 responses »

  1. Welcome back. I hope Life has returned to a little normality

    I’ve just eaten a peach…….

  2. Hello Myfanwy, thank you for still reading me! Yes I think life is back in shape. I am still follwing you from afar you know…

  3. Dear Caroline, you made my day! Really nice to se the Message in the box. And…..I am still hoping for the recipe on that fantastic upsidedown pie Witherspoon aubergine and tomatoes!

    • Inga-Lill, how LOVELY! Worth all that work getting back on here just to hear from you. OK OK I’ll do the tatin d’aubergines next. I was sort of thinking of it anyway because it’s seasonal. How are things in Sweden?

  4. You rock! Love that you can be so passionate and share such great recipes

  5. I am excited about your weekly posts~and have many questions that will soufflé up over time.Thank you 4 taking the time 2write these recipes.Just remember,Van Gogh was an artist a long time before someone actually bought his canvas(;

  6. C’est bien sympa, ce blog! Moi j’ai une peche mignon pour les blog comme ca :)

  7. Love the new sound clips, very useful!

  8. Pingback: One French Word: frit, a French recipe: Pâtes fraîches aux épinards, aux câpres et à la coppa frite | One French Word

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