This recipe is from my Seasonal Entertaining (Harper Collins) book, and is one of the simplest, yet most luxurious, ways to prepare peaches, be they yellow or white. Serve them with good-quality vanilla ice cream or pure cream. For a lovely summery touch, use half water/half dry rose wine.
Put the sugar, water and vanilla bean into a medium-large saucepan, and bring slowly to the boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar. Turn down to simmer.
Slip in the peaches very carefully and cover them with a clean, wet tea-towel (this helps to keep them immersed in the syrup as they cook). Simmer very gently for ten minutes, using a simmer pad if necessary.
Meanwhile fill a large bowl three-quarters full with cold water. With a slotted spoon, remove peaches very carefully and plunge them in the water. Slip off the skins. Stand each peach alone so as not to damage the flesh. Meanwhile reduce the syrup to a runny toffee-like consistency by boiling rapidly. Place one perfect peach into a dessert bowl and ladle over a little of the glorious syrup.