2½ kilograms small, firm but ripe nectarines or peaches or a combination of both
3 cups water
3 cups caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
2 cups brandy
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Using a small, sharp knife, lightly score the skin along the groove of the nectarines and peaches. In batches, drop the fruit into the boiling water for 1- 4 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of cold water. The blanching time for the fruit can vary enormously depending on their ripeness and the variety of the fruit. Use a small, sharp knife to carefully peel off the skin.
Combine the water, sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and peppercorns in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 5 minutes then add the brandy and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the fruit, bring back to the boil then immediately take off the heat. Don’t let the syrup boil rapidly or the fruit may start to fall apart.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fruit to hot, sterilised jars and pour over the syrup to totally cover. Seal the jars immediately, cool completely then refrigerate.