Wednesday Will: The Apothecary’s Stewed Peaches and Fresh Cream


“As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last.” King Richard II, 2.1

Everyone likes “The Apothecary’s Stewed Peaches and Fresh Cream”

Everyone likes “The Apothecary’s Stewed Peaches and Fresh Cream”. As Shakespeare himself comments, “I have yet to see a dining guest remain unsmiling” after finishing off their meal with The Globe’s stewed peaches. It’s an easy desert to make. But as the recipe makes clear: don’t skimp on the wine. Use the good stuff. Unless you’d prefer a red, peach-flavored mediciney goo that‘ll make you feel dead for days, to a gratifying, lush desert.

The Ingredients of the Dish:

Good red wine
Orange and lemon rind
2 big families on vacation
A good sommelier

The Chefs of the Recipe:

The Apothecary – sommelier at The Globe

Act I, sc.1

Enter the Apothecary into The Globe’s wine cellar 

Shakespeare (off-stage): What ho, apothecary!

Apothecary: Who calls so loud? (ambles over to the bottom of the stairs and looks up)

Shakespeare (off-stage): Go find and then bring up six bottles of our best Amarone, a smooth, velvety wine that will disperse itself through all my simmering peaches and flavor them as richly as a king’s crown is a thousand timed jeweled. The Montagues are in town and have made a reservation for tomorrow night for their whole clan. What’s more, so do the Capulettis expect a noble supper on that same eve. It seems our young Romeo and younger Juliet have their knot decided to pull tighter still with a second ceremonial banquet and I want both their families to leave here happy. I have yet to see a dining guest remain unsmiling after ending their meal on our own orchard-grown peaches stewed in wine, sugar and spices and served with freshly mounted cream and the reduced bleeding sauced syrup from the pot.

Apothecary: Such grand grapes we do have, yet the best is from that tiny Italian producer northwest of Mantua. Are you sure you want to use those remaining bottles and not a distilled grape juice from another vine? I mean, after all, they did give us a heap o’ trouble a while back.

Shakespeare (off-stage): As my father would have said after kissing his hidden cross: let bygones be bygones. We will love our enemies and turn our other chef’s cheek.

Apothecary: As long as their checks are worth our second cheek. As you like it, Will, but it is my status and not my opinion that agrees.

Shakespeare (off-stage): Then hold your opinion and have your Sommelier status bring up the wine.

Apothecary: (to you, the reader) He’s probably right. One bite of those peaches makes the whole world kin, even those two bickering tribes. Yup, yup, yup. (pauses as he looks for the wine, then looks back at you) This is what happens when your final degree is a Bachelor’s in chemistry. It was either change careers or that teaching job at Faraway Hills High in Arkansas. Arkansas. What they got in Arkansas? Chickens. Lots of chickens. Lots a’ chicken crap. Not to be insulting to Arkansonians but I figured, definitely not my thing. And then I figured: what’d I do most of the time at ASU? I got drunk. So I thought, chemistry, wine, you know, it fits. And it did at first. After that 6 month sommelier course I went out to ‘Frisco, won their little wine tasting competition then I had offers from all over the place: Gotham Grill, La Pergola in Rome, Lyon. Then Sara said it was time for us to settle down, buy a house, have some kids. So I settled down. That was 14 years ago. Now here I am still in the cellar. I feel like one o’ them orange rinds that Will throws into the pot to flavor the peaches and wine. I’m only here to help kick up the sauce but I never get to the plate. The fruit does, and the reduced wine with sugar does, and the cinnamon you can taste but the orange peal stays behind. It’s essential to the dish but almost no one realizes how much. Except of course those one or two aficionados that appreciate my work. (finds the bottles and grabs 3) Ah, well, whataya’ gonna’ do. All the world’s a stage, we all have a part to play and I can’t complain. I had my fun. Let the kids have theirs. (squints as he looks for a pouch to hold the bottles) Man, I have to get to the eye doctor. And I better get movin’. If it be true that ‘good wine needs no bush,’ then it’s true that a good recipe needs no epilogue.

Exits up the stairs with the wine. Exit recipe

The real recipe: 
6 peaches or pears
1-2 bottles of good red wine 
Orange rind
All spice
Fresh whipping cream
serves 6
Pretty simple: find the juiciest, ripest peaches or pears you can, peel and seed them, and gently simmer them in good red wine that’s been flavored with a cup or two of sugar depending on how sweet you want the final syrup to be, a little all spice, and one or two orange peels. Once the fruit is tender, remove, and reduce the liquid until it has the viscosity you want, whip up the cream, and serve it along with the fruit in the plate, dribbling the strained syrup over top. If you make the pears, sprinkle with grated dark chocolate and serve with a Barolo Chinato. If you make the peaches, sprinkle with grated lemon rind and serve with a Passito di Pantelleria.

Not quite peaches but: Perys en Composte PERIOD: England, 15th century | SOURCE: Harleian MS. 279 link-

…flashback to Romeo, Juliet, a different apothecary, movies and the end of a funner time….

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