Served with a dollop of whipped cream and the poaching liquid, these fruits become an elegant answer to summer dessert.
With a paring knife, lightly score an "X" into bottom of nectarines (this will help with peeling later). Place in a medium pot, along with granulated sugar, vanilla, liqueur, if using, and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer until nectarines are easily pierced with a knife, 10 to 14 minutes, depending on size. With a slotted spoon, transfer nectarines to a medium bowl. When cool enough to handle, peel and return to syrup.
In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream and confectioners' sugar on high until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Serve nectarines with some poaching liquid and a dollop of whipped cream.
You can use peaches in place of nectarines, or a mixture.