I could eat a peach for hours, especially a juicy, fully-ripe, in-season peach. But such luscious delights are increasingly hard to come by, even in the summer months. “Just okay” peaches are much more common, and they have their uses: A little sugar, a little butter, a little heat, and you can transform a not-quite-perfect peach into something decadent.
“A little heat” is key here. The temperature is still in the 90s where I am, and I’m not about to turn my oven on for anything—even delicious slightly caramelized, kind of syrupy peaches. This is where the air fryer comes in. It delivers big heat in a small package, keeping your kitchen cool while softening your fruit and caramelizing the sugar you’re going to smear on it.
First, you’ll need a peach or some other kind of stone fruit. (If you’re using smaller fruits, like plums, you may need two or more.) Slice it in half and remove the pit. Set your air fryer to 370℉. Once it reaches temperature, place the peach halves, cut side-down in the air fryer and cook for 5 minutes.
Take 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and mush and stir them together to make a paste. Flip the peaches over, and carefully spread the mixture equally over both halves, making sure to coat the entire surface so it glistens with sticky sweet butter, then shove any excess into the hole where the pit used to be. Cook for another 5-7 minutes until the fruit is soft and caramelized on the top.
Let the peaches cool for a moment, then decide what you want to put on them. They’re great as-is or with a little cinnamon, but I highly recommend something sweet, cold, and creamy, like vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, or perhaps a little crème fraîche if you want a less sweet, but still very creamy and sticky peach.
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