The lovely peach originates from China, although as its botanical name (Prunus persica) indicates Europeans thought – in the 18th century – that it came from Persia. Peaches seemed to have been introduced to Southern Europe via the Silk Road in Antiquity. They were brought by the Spaniards to the Americas where adopted by a number of Indian tribes at least in North America. A Wikipedia map shows that peaches are also cultivated in the temperate areas of South America.
Their adoption by many peoples is no wonder as a ripe peach is a gift from God. I certainly thought so this week-end as I was going through the bushel of peaches I bought Friday – almost dizzy with their heady scent. It was hot this week-end, so I wanted to minimize cooking indoor. One perfect way to use those fragrant sun-charged wonders is to make Peach Sorbet.
My recipe comes almost straight from the book Chez Panisse Desserts by Lindsay Remolif Shere: that is, I use their proportions and process – mostly – , but I rewrote the recipe to fit my recipe style. I have tried several other recipes from different sources, but I like the Chez Panisse one better as it is simpler, has few ingredients (basically peach & sugar!) and results in a very clean peachy taste. Chez Panisse does not specify which kind of peaches to use: I use white peaches for this sorbet, as they are sweeter than the yellow ones, and they produce a lovely pale sorbet that’s has a very creamy mouth feel.
White Peach Sorbet
Yields about 1 (generous) quart
1 ¾ pound very ripe white peaches
2 tablespoon water
¾ cup sugar
Lemon to taste
1 tablespoon peach or apricot liqueur (Chez Panisse calls for kirsch to taste); homemade‘s ok
- Over a non-reactive sauce pan (so you can catch all the juices), halve, pit and peel the peaches. Add the water, and heat up slowly until the peaches are warmed through (you want them to be just cooked to preserve that lovely color)
- Puree the peaches in a blender (you should have 3 cups), carefully add the sugar – it’s hot – and carefully pulse to dissolve sugar.
- Chill thoroughly (typically I do this the night before churning the sorbet). Taste and add lemon juice if desired. Add the liqueur.
- Process in your ice-cream maker following the manufacturer’s instruction. Firm in the freezer – if you can resist. Make sure to leave plenty on the blade/beater to lick off surreptitiously…
Locavore Log: peaches from an orchard down the road, homemade peach liqueur