Shalla Nelprin could have many secrets. First, her father could be Vyn Narcassan, former Old Republic Intelligence agent. Another secret: her father might still be alive. He was considered an old man when he faked his death and later started a family, raising Shalla and her sister, in hiding. His body had never been located, though he was on the Imperial "most wanted" list. And if he is still alive, this leads to a possible third secret -- is old Narcassan actually human? He successfully completed over 100 covert assignments, raised daughters who were now grown women; all in all, he should be dead of old age by now. When he was an active agent, there were whispers about his miraculous returns from impossible missions, how he had cheated death, healing well and quickly, even though shot through. The answer may lie in the possibility that the Narcassans merely look human, or near-human. Old Vyn was always noted to be too diabolical, too beautiful, too intense, too smart, too strong. Could it all not be just luck?
In any case, Shalla adores her father, that is no secret. Part of the reason is because he devoted all his time to her and her sister. He trained them to be Intelligence operatives, engineered their undercover status in the Imperial systems, then later into Alliance and New Republic operations. To reward them for a job well done after lessons and workouts, he made them dinners that basically consisted of the baked desserts they loved. Pure comfort food, these dishes were nearly always baked, filling their little home with mouth-watering scents. After bathing, the girls would dry by the heat of the oven, huddled together wrapped in towels while their father imparted more wisdom to them.
They each had favorite dishes. Vula, the elder of the two, loved anything with berries, whether it be cobbler, tartes, or just stewed fruit poured over creamed rice or bread. Shalla loved orchard stone fruits, like apricots, plums, peaches ... and she loved this dish so much that Vyn Narcassan gave her his closely-guarded recipe and named it after her. A "pfüd" in their local dialect is a "jewel." The Wraiths all feel that whoever her father is, he is a jewel himself if he cooked this well!
In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In another small bowl, sift or stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat into the butter mixture, then dump by spoonfuls around the peaches in the baking dish. Spread more or less evenly letting the peaches poke out of the batter here and there. Place in the heated oven for 45 minutes till nicely browned.
To make the custard sauce, use a powder like Bird's custard powder and make it up according to package directions, or the classical ready-made canned sauce. The "English" brand we tend to get in the U.S. is again, Bird's.
Serve with custard, or ice cream, or heavy cream. (If using the cream, Shalla likes hers unwhipped, but go ahead and whip it if you like.)
Serves 6 nicely as a heavy dessert, or maybe 8 more reasonably.
For an illustrated "poster" version of this recipe, click here.
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