Demerara is brown crystallized cane sugar. It takes its name from Demerara, a region in Guyana where sugar cane is grown.
Carefully cut the peaches in half with a sharp knife. Remove the stones. Put the vanilla essence , caster sugar and 300 ml pint water in a heavy- based saucepan. Heat gently, without stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.
Carefully lower the peach halves into the pan. Increase the heat slightly. poach the peaches in the syrup for 5 minutes, or until softened. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve the syrup. Arrange in a dish, cut- side up.
Fill each poached peach half with 1 tablespoon sour cream. Sprinkle the Demerara sugar and almonds over the top and decorate with mint. serve with a little of the reserved syrup.
Be careful not to stir or boil the sugar and water mixture in step 1, or the sugar will crystallize and stick to the pan or spoon.
Make this lovely dessert using 4 nectarines or 8 large plums instead of the peaches. If using plums, reduce the poaching time to 2-3 minutes in step 2.
Accompany this elegant summer dessert with crunchy brandy snaps or Italian-style dessert biscuits, such as biscotti.
Look for ripe peaches with tight skins and firm but tender flesh. Avoid any that have loose skin, soft patches or blemishes.