Give stodgy Christmas pud the flick this year, and opt for something lighter and summery to end all that feasting, like this gorgeous peach and meringue tart. From The Art of French Baking, recipes by Ginette Mathiot. Published by Phaidon Press. RRP $49.95.

Preparation time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 55 minutes- 1 hour 10 minutes

Serves 6


100g short-grain rice

400ml milk

Pinch of salt

200g caster sugar

3 egg yolks

500g peaches
Butter for greasing

Italian meringue

250g caster sugar

4 egg whites

Butter for greasing


Rinse the rice and place it in a medium saucepan with the milk and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 – 60 minutes. When the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and stir in 100g of the sugar and the egg yolks.

In a saucepan, bring the 750ml water to a boil, then add the peaches and leaven them to boil for 3-4 minutes. Drain and immediately place in a bowl of ice water. Peel them, cut them in half and remove their stones. Make the Italian meringue.

To make the Italian meringue:

Use the sugar and 75ml water to make a sugar syrup and cook to the soft ball stage.

Whisk the egg whites until the form soft peaks. Continue whisking as you pour a very thin stream of the sugar syrup onto the egg whites, making sure that the syrup trickles down the inside of the mixing bowl without touching the whisk. The meringue will become very stiff and glossy.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and grease a fairly shallow, round or oval ovenproof dish with butter. Arrange the rice in a dome shape in the dish and arrange the peach halves all round its base.

Cover the dessert with half of the Italian meringue and place the rest in a piping bag fitted with a fluted nozzle. Pipe the remaining meringue decoratively on the dessert and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Bake for 10 minutes to lightly brown the meringue.

What are you making for Christmas dessert?