The amazing peach.
If you’re a food blog follower, you may have seen a few ice cream recipes around which basically involve frozen bananas, whizzed up into a creamy, dreamy dessert. When I first looked upon these recipes I made a mental note in my head, and then my parents dropped by with a very large bag full of various kinds of peaches from the trees at home. Oh boy. This was a large bag. Much of this bag comprised of Golden Queen peaches, my favourite kind of peach that happens to go off about two or three days after picking if you’re not lucky.
Of course I couldn’t eat 3 kilos of peaches in that space of time, so I got to work making stewed peaches. Well. Initially.
See, the stewed peaches first turned into sorbet.
Then into mousse.
Then into ice cream…and you know what? I didn’t add a single ingredient after stewing the peaches. So all you need to make either stewed peaches (I’ll elaborate on more uses for these later), sorbet, mousse or ice cream, is a load of peaches, some sugar, and water…and maybe if you’re feeling a little luxurious, a bit of a vanilla bean. Om. No need for an ice cream maker (although you will want a food processor or immersion blender). Or stirring every half hour.
Stewed peaches (a guide, for any amount)
Wash peaches. Use a medium sized paring knife and press down the “butt cheeks” :) Go all the way around. Cut into eights, and twist the butt cheeks to remove the segments. Remove any rotting bits too. Don’t bother removing the skins, they don’t stay furry. Do cut off any imperfections on the skin though. Throw in a saucepan.
Cover peaches in raw sugar (or white sugar I guuuueeeesss). Add a splash or two of water (so there’s about 1cm of water at the bottom of the pan, with peaches in). Add a split vanilla bean (scrape out seeds first and add to pot). Turn heat to medium low, and bring to a simmer. Let simmer, stirring when you remember, for about an hour until the the peaches are super soft and translucent looking, and have broken apart to make the syrup full of peach bits. If you want to make sorbet or ice cream or mousse, the syrup needs to be the consistency of maple syrup – so it should coat the back of a spoon but not be as thick as honey. To adjust the tartness/sweetness, taste once they’ve been simmering for half an hour. If too sweet, add some lemon juice, if too tart, add more sugar.
Store in the fridge, large amounts can be frozen. Lasts about a week in the fridge or a month if you added loads of sugar!
Once the stewed peaches have cooled, add then to your food processor (or you can use an immersion blender, but it will probably take longer). Let run on medium speed until the mixture is smooth. Pour into a freezable container. Freeze at least 4 hours (preferably overnight). This can also be blended with yogurt in the morning for a super fast breakfast smoothie. Nom.
Peach mousse – use at least 1L of sorbet/stewed peaches
Make the sorbet, but instead of pouring the mixture into a container, leave the pureed peaches in the food processor. Freeze for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Remove from freezer. The lid may be slightly frozen on, run under hot water for a little bit. Carefully pull up bits of sorbet with a spoon from the bottom of the bowl, avoiding contact with the blade of the food processor. Whizz on high speed until pale. Scrape the bottom (especially the corners) to remove any un-aerated bits, and whizz on high speed until consistent. If you want you can beat the mixture with electric beaters to make it even more aerated, or beat in egg whites, but it will be pretty rich already. Serve, preferably with a dollop of whipped cream or good vanilla bean ice cream!
Peach ice cream – use at least 1L of sorbet/stewed peaches
Make the mousse. If you want your ice cream to have streaks of peachy bits in, you can remove some sorbet and stir it through after the rest of the mixture if fully aerated. Pour mousse into a freezable container and freeze for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. If you want peach frozen yogurt or you want to add cream, just add these after whizzing the sorbet for the first time. I might try adding cream next time, as the ice cream I made was VERY rich in terms of sweetness.
Other uses for stewed peaches:
Add a splash of cream or yogurt, with some toasted nuts or muesli, for a decadent breakfast.
Stir into rolled oats to cool them down. If using tart peaches, add brown sugar and maybe some cream.
Top cakes or serve alongside with a little whipped cream.
Eat straight with a splash of cream.
Make peach crumble (with plenty of cinnamon, and maybe some crushed almonds, walnuts or pistachios), and serve with ice cream. Bulk up with other fruits, like apples, pears, berries or plums. Encase it with a shell of pate sucree (this is my favourite sweet pastry of all, and it is easily make into biscuits) and you have a marvellous pie.
Add water and blend with freshly minced ginger, lemon balm or mint for a refreshing drink.
Add to an iced lemon & honey drink for a bit of a twist.
Make peach jelly.
Flavours to match: (according to the Flavor Bible)
allspice, almonds (toasted), apricots, blackberries, blueberries, bourbon, brandy, butter (unsalted), champagne, cinnamon, cloves, cognac, cointreau, cream, ice cream, creme fraiche, ginger, honey, kirsch, lemon (juice, zest), mascarpone, mint, nectarines, nutmeg, orange (juice, zest), pistachios, plums, port, raspberries, rum, sour cream, strawberries, sugar (brown, confectioner’s, white), vanilla, walnuts, wine, yogurt.