8 medium really ripe peaches
1/2 tablespoon butter softened, salted
6 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 large eggs
Syrup from peaches when poached
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup flour
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Put the oven rack in the center position so that the baking dish is in the middle of the oven when it goes in.
Maria says, "I take my Rachael Ray oval pasta pot (I really do) – its shape and size is perfect for poaching large fruits – fill it with water and bring to a rolling boil." Note: Use any large pot if you don't have this one. Place the whole peaches with skins on into the boiling water and poach for 6 minutes. Remove the peaches from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl to cool. Set aside. Grease the bottom and side of a 9-inch pie or tart dish with softened butter. Use 1 tablespoon of the sugar to dust on bottom of greased baking dish, then tap and turn baking dish until the sugar has coated the bottom and sides of the dish; tap out the excess sugar. When the peaches are cool enough to touch, slide off the skins and discard them. If you're having a little trouble with the skins, use a very sharp paring knife to loosen and peel them from the fruit. Make sure you work over the bowl the peaches were cooling in – you will need the peach syrup for later. As you peel each peach, set it back in the peach bowl and the peaches will start to render liquid. Still working over the peach bowl, take one peach at a time and cut into eight sections. Add the slices back to the bowl. Tip: Using a paring knife, slice the fruit from top to bottom going all the way in until you hit the pit – repeat until you have eight sections. Arrange the sections side by side in the bottom of baking dish and set aside. In a blender, puree the eggs until smooth. Add the remaining 5 tablespoons sugar and puree again. Add 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of the peach syrup, and the salt and milk and puree once again. Add the flour and puree one more time. Pour the liquid mixture over the peaches in the baking dish. Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the custard has set. You can test this by inserting a butter knife – it will come clean when fully cooked. Cool to room temperature and serve.