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Tipsy Summer Peach Pudding: The Best Use of a Wine-Poached Peach

Eaten straight out of hand or cut up, a ripe peach is hard to beat. But, peach perfection is a fleeting thing, and the only way to forestall an impending perish? Cooking the fruit.

Cobblers, pies and preserves all have their merits, but when it comes to cooking peaches, I’m partial to poaching. A poached peach will never be the same as a raw, ripe one, but done right—which is to say, gently and patiently—this method surpasses all others in preserving the natural form of the peach, while yielding a tasty, peach-infused syrup in the process.

Poaching in wine can yield an especially lovely and complex syrup. Red wine specifically will impart a rosy hue to the outer flesh, recalling the natural blush of peach skin. A few days ago, I ended up with a dozen wine-poached peaches, and for the record, there’s nothing like it—especially accompanied with ice cream. What to do with the inevitable surplus of poaching liquid? The old-fashioned English tipsy peach pudding, of course.

What Is a Tipsy Pudding? And a Summer Pudding?

Tipsy pudding, sometimes called tipsy parson, is a simple dessert consisting of sponge cake soaked in wine or brandy. Eating too much might make you tipsy, in addition to pleasantly full. Another form of pudding, summer pudding, is also a basic English dessert that utilizes stale bread, or even bread crumbs, as a base for soaking up fruit juices.

The unique cake recipe below strikes me as a hybrid of the two desserts—a sponge cake that utilizes bread crumbs instead of flour for structure. Tangy sourdough bread crumbs will yield a cake particularly complimentary to the poached peaches, but any fresh bread crumbs will do.

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