Top chef Nick Cullen serves up a tasty treat

I ALWAYS cling on to the last days of summer and its wonderful seasonal produce and try to make my summer menu last just a little bit longer before we move into the bold, earthy flavours of Autumn.

And I couldn’t let the season pass without doing one more recipe with one of my favourite fruity summer treats - the peach.

There is nothing more delicious that a fresh, ripe peach with its sweet unmistakable aroma and juicy, fragrant flesh.

Although best eaten freshly picked, peaches are also a great addition to a variety of dishes, both sweet and savoury, and pair particularly well with cheese and salty meats.A very popular dishes is grilled peaches topped with Stilton and Parma ham; a wonderful combination of salty and sweet. Or try them with fatty meats such as duck and pork belly or throw them into a salad to liven up your leaves; you can really transform a dish by adding seasonal fruit.

Peaches get softer and juicier after picking but only develop their flavour and sweetness on the tree so avoid the ‘ripen at home’ varieties. If you’re unsure, then scent is always a good indicator of flavour. However, the peach season is only here for a little while longer so make the most of them while they’re at their best.

One of my favourite peach desserts is an Italian inspired dish that combines fragrant peaches with a rich, sticky Amaretto syrup and crunchy almond flavoured crumble topping.

This is a really luxurious and sophisticated pudding that will transform a northern dinner table into an Italian piazza! Serve up with some mascarpone or your favourite vanilla ice cream and some seasonal berries.

Peaches and Amaretto Crumble

(serves 2)

75ml white wine

2 tbsp apricot jam

2 ripe peaches, cut in half

50g of butter

4 tbsp granulated sugar

50ml Amaretto liqueur

100g Amaretti biscuits

100g fresh berries

Mascarpone or vanilla ice cream to serve

In a deep, oven-proof pan, gently heat the wine and apricot jam. S

it the peaches skin-side down in the liquid and place a knob of butter and one tbsp. of sugar on the top of each peach half.

Place the peaches under the grill for about five minutes until the butter and sugar have melted and the liquid starts to bubble.

Remove from the grill and pour the Amaretto liqueur over the fruit and crumble the biscuits on top of each peach. Place back under the grill for a few minutes to lightly toast the biscuits.

Remove the peaches from the liquid, which should now have become a syrup, and divide between two plates. Stir the berries into the syrup and spoon over the top of the peaches.

Serve with a scoop of Mascarpone or good quality vanilla ice cream.