Compote and assembly
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
6 tablespoons water, divided
2 nectarines, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1. Place the sugar in a small saucepan. Add the corn syrup and 5 tablespoons of water to give the mixture the consistency of wet sand.
2. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar syrup begins to caramelize, about 5 to 8 minutes. Once a dark honey color is reached, reduce the heat to low and add half the diced nectarines. Cook the fruit in the caramel for 3 to 4 minutes, until the juices are released and the sauce becomes more liquid.
3. Remove the nectarines from the caramel sauce with a slotted spoon and add them to the bowl with the remaining uncooked fruit. Combine the cornstarch and the remaining water in a small bowl and stir into the caramel sauce in the pan. Bring the sauce back to a boil and simmer until slightly thickened and the starch flavor is cooked out, about 2 minutes.
4. Add all the fruit to the sauce and stir over low heat about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to serve.
5. When the cake is done, place it on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a plate. Remove the parchment paper and turn the cake over again onto a serving platter.
6. Serve slices of warm cake with a spoonful of room-temperature compote and vanilla bean ice cream.
Each serving: 548 calories; 5 grams protein; 68 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 30 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 57 mg. cholesterol; 462 mg. sodium.
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes plus macerating time
Note: From Sherry Yard, pastry chef at Spago. This recipe is designed for the flat doughnut or Saturn peaches that are in the markets now. If you can't find them, use regular peaches cut into wedges. The recipe uses half of the anise biscotti; save the rest for another use. If you can't find lemon verbena leaves, substitute lemon zest.