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Dougal’s Poached Peach Sundae

Dougal’s Poached Peach Sundae

Beyond the Books, Outlander

“So you did it with Colum’s knowledge.  Was Letitia willing?” Knowing by now just what sort of ruthlessness they possessed, I wouldn’t put it past the brothers MacKenzie to have forced her.

Dougal nodded.  His anger had evaporated.

“Oh, aye, willing enough.  She didna fancy me particularly, but she wanted a child – enough to take me to her bed for the three months it took to start Hamish.  A boring job it was too,” Dougal added reflectively, scraping a bit of mud from his boot heel.  “I’d as soon swive a warm bowl of milk pudding.”

“And did you tell Colum that?”  I asked.  Hearing the edge in my voice, he looked up.  He regarded me levelly for a moment, then a faint smile lightened his face.

“No,” he said quietly.  “No, I didna tell him that.”  He looked down at his hands, turning them over as though looking for some secret hidden in the lines of his palms.

“I told him,” he said softly, not looking at me, “that she was tender and sweet as a ripe peach, and all that a man could want in a woman.”

Diana Gabaldon, Outlander (Chapter 34 – Dougal’s Story)

Dougal is a complex guy.  A man of many flavours.  Just like an ice-cream sundae.

I kept these simple — a luscious poached peach, a scoop of vanilla and a drizzle of syrup  — just like the man sparring with Claire in that cave, attempting to convince her he’s her best next option.

You may choose to go all out — with whipped cream, cherries, a cookie or two (heck, I love marshmallow fluff) — and who knows?  Maybe if Dougal had taken a bath and buffed his brooch before he offered to plow her furrow take her home, Claire may have accepted his proposal.


Everyone’s favourite uncle would have sucked on a peach pit at the table without a second thought.

You can halve the fruit and remove the pit either before or after poaching, but be warned…peaches can be slippery suckers after they’ve been peeled, and the results can be messy — to you, your kitchen and the peach.

I tried halving them before and after poaching, but my peaches weren’t ripe enough (it is only June in the Pacific Northwest) to neatly yield their pits to me.  I suspect you may have better luck with riper peaches later in the season.

To be honest, a poached peach is very tender and easy to eat with a spoon, so it’s not really necessary.  And besides, I have to ask: is it still Dougal’s peach if the cook is the one to split it?


(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Dougal’s Poached Peach Sundae

Tender sweet and delicate poached peaches in syrup, served with ice cream and your choice of accoutrements.

Serves 4

  • Peaches, lightly brushed clean – 4
  • Sugar – 1½ C
  • Water – 1½ C
  • Vanilla Bean, split – 1
  • Lemon Juice – 1 Tble
  • Ice Cream
  • Garnishes:  Whipped Cream, Nuts, Chocolate Sauce, Cookies, Maraschino Cherries, Marshmallow Fluff – the sky’s the limit.

Read all of the instructions through before you start.

Boil a kettle of water and prepare a large bowl filled with ice and cold water.  Place the peaches in a deep pan or bowl, and cover with boiling water from the kettle for 30 seconds.  Remove the peaches to the bowl of ice water for 2 minutes to cool and loosen the skin.

Use a paring knife to gently peel the peaches.

Bring the water, sugar vanilla pod and lemon juice to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Boil for 5 minutes, then carefully add the peeled peaches and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Simmer, covered, until tender but not overly soft, 15-20 minutes (longer if the peaches are large), basting the peaches occasionally with the syrup.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the peaches to a bowl.  Increase the heat to medium and boil the syrup until reduced to about 1 cup, about 15 minutes.  Cool the syrup completely, then pour over the peaches and refrigerate until ready to serve.  (Can be made up to 2 days in advance of serving.)

To assemble the sundaes, add a scoop of your favourite ice cream to the bowl, top with a peach, some of the glorious pink syrup, and whatever other toppings take your fancy.

Ith gu leòir! (Eat Plenty)


  1. Jen C.
    June 7, 2012 at 3:35 am

    As soon as I saw the words “Dougal” and “peach” I knew exactly which line in the book you were referring to. lol You are VERY creative! Thanks for the giggle this morning.

  2. OutlanderFan
    June 7, 2012 at 5:48 am

    My DH is absolutely going to LOVE this recipe!!! (incidentally, I wonder what Dougal himself would think of it?)

  3. Aaron Brown
    June 7, 2012 at 6:18 am

    The next batch of peaches off my trees are going to be made into this-I can’t wait!

    • Theresa
      June 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      Lucky woman to have your verra own peach tree! Jealous.

  4. Shari
    June 7, 2012 at 7:08 am

    This Sundae looks great, the passage is wonderful and your own comments are hilarious! Such a fun recipe.

    • Theresa
      June 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks, Shari! It was a fun post to make and write.

  5. Kathi
    June 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Oh I sure love poached peaches. You are so witty and clever with your posts! Thanks for always making me smile. ♥

    • Theresa
      June 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks for letting me know you like what you see, Kathi! Now you’ve got me smiling…:D

  6. Bri
    June 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    This looks beautiful and delicious! Back in college, my best friend and I used to have tea parties (because I was staying in an old house with a wonderful flower-filled sunroom that demanded to host tea parties) and we always had fresh peaches on vanilla ice cream for dessert. We were amazed at how much flavor could be packed into such a simple dish. I would never have thought to poach the peaches, but she is coming into town next week and I am totally making this!!! You always have the best ideas 🙂

    • Theresa
      June 8, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      How fun is that?! Have a great visit with an old friend. 🙂

  7. Lior Aronoff
    June 7, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    OMG. Outlander Kitchen, I love you. I REALLY love you. Will you marry me? Is it legal to wed a website???

    I think OK cookbook would be a wonderful cuddler. #justsayin

    • Theresa
      June 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      If I wasn’t already taken by My Englishman, Lior…I have to say I would seriously consider it. NH.

    • dearli13
      June 8, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      🙁 my stomach will never get over the rejection. LH???

  8. foodiestuntman
    June 9, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Never tried poaching a peach but the dessert looks yummy. Congratulations on making the foodbuzz Top 9!

    • Theresa
      June 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      Many thanks, Stuntman! Theresa

  9. Callie
    June 10, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I really want to pin some of your recipes to my Pinterest board – its how I keep track of the recipes I like online – but your blog isn’t compatible for some unknown reason. Could you please look into making this possible? Its a great way to promote your blog too, spread the word about your recipes and drive new readers to your blog. Thank you!

  10. Callie
    June 10, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Never mind my last comment – it was viewing you via the FoodBuzz site that was preventing Pinterest from working. Thanks any how – love your recipes!

    • Theresa
      June 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      Glad you got it worked out, Callie! Thanks for stopping by. 😀 Theresa

  11. Marlene Kidd
    June 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    YAY! I followed your reply to the comment I posted on Facebook that led me to this site. I look forward to ALL your posts and will be commenting more on this blog to continue to show my support!

    • Theresa
      June 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm

      Thanks so much, Marlene!

  12. janetfctc
    June 11, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    While Dougal was a bit of an arse to be sure, I always thought that his telling Colum that was one of the nicer things he had ever done. 🙂

    As for the dessert… I’ll just drool copiously all over my keyboard and leave it at that 😛

    • Theresa
      June 12, 2012 at 8:38 pm

      You`re right, Janet. It`s quite possible that Colum was the only person (other than himself) that Dougal truly loved.

  13. sybaritica
    June 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    That glazed peach looks scrumptious!

  14. Shana Jensen
    June 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Och. My Dougal. I will never look at a peach again without thinking of him. <3 Theresa you are a true genius!

    • Theresa
      June 14, 2012 at 7:51 am

      I’m so glad his #1 fan approves. 🙂

  15. Mindy Reed
    June 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Made this for dessert tonight and it was WONDERFUL!!! Second recipe today that was a HUGE HIT!! Thank you!!

    • Theresa
      July 2, 2012 at 7:55 am

      That’s quite an Outlander food day, Mindy! I’m thrilled it was so successful and tasty. 😀

  16. Carol Mackey
    July 31, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    So much inuendo . . . so many chuckles and outright guffaws . . . my tummy hurts, and I haven’t eaten a thing–not even a poached peach. Recipe sounds delicious–nothing like peaches with vanilla ice cream (except chocolate, of course); and poached . . . if it is anything like baked peaches with mascarpone . . . mmmmm! Erotic!

  17. Carol Mackey
    July 31, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    . . . iNNuendo! Sorry! Hate when I do that!! The teacher in me, no doubt . . .

  18. William Still
    July 31, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    When I worked at the Cloister hotel in Georgia we would do poached peaches with poached meringue. We would poach the meringue in simmering cream flavored with vanilla bean and sugar. It was a very popular dessert. and of course we used fresh Georgia peaches.

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