Every year for my birthday, I go to the farmers market to pick up some peaches. I adore peaches and this year, Pete’s were unbelievably good. Flavor bursting, juice exploding, dripping down your arm amazingly good. You can smell them from the other side of his tent. My birthday is right in the middle of peak peach season and every year I buy myself a big bag as a present to myself. I usually work the farmstand but for the last month I’ve been working other gigs and haven’t been able to help out so when I saw Pete, we caught up for a bit before I got around to the peaches. Being a good guy, he gave me a whole box – about 75 peaches – as a gift. Whata guy! Then he mumbled “fruit whore”, his special nickname for me, under his breath. You see, I have a habit of taking the less than perfect fruit and won’t let him throw anything away. It annoys – and I think secretly amuses him – to no end.
Pete has a discerning clients - the slightest blemish and they balk (Truth be told, a few of them are pains in the asses. Sigh. Read some funny stories about them here.) What they don’t realize (idiots) is that when the peaches are at their ripest and best they don’t always have a perfect surface. They’re mistake is my shoportunity – I’ll happily snap up those overripe, super fragrant, less than perfect peaches. When they’re like that, they make the best treats – most especially frozen ones. Cold mutes flavors so when something is overpowering flavorful verging on over ripe, it’s perfect for ice cream or sorbet. So I made both. Ha!
With all these peaches, slowly softening in my fridge, I went on a bit of a bender – hand pies, ice cream, cobblers and for this one, sorbet. The clean bright pure flavors of peaches just bursts through with all the subtlety of Godzilla on a rampage. Last night I put a few scoops in a glass and topped it off with cream soda for easily one of the best ice cream sodas I’ve ever had. Man, it was something else. Easily one of the best things I’ve had, much less made, this year. Summer in a glass.
Sorbets are easy. At their most basic, it’s just ripe fruit and sugar though you can add flavorings if you like – booze, vanilla maybe, perhaps a complimentary spice. But I like them straight up so the pure fruitiness comes through without any distractions. I cannot emphasize enough that you need good fruit. Subpar specimens aren’t going to taste any better with just sugar and a little lemon juice added. What you start with is what you’ll end up with. Just stating the obvious.
STRESS BAKING THERAPY FACTOR: GREAT! I took overripe fruit that was wasn’t the prettiest and turned it into a beautiful hued, supremely flavorful treat. I’m sure it would have gone over great with my friends if I had bothered to share any. But peach things are the ones I tend to save for myself. And I don’t even care.
Makes about 1 quart
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
1 ½ pounds peaches, peeled and pit removed
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- In a small saucepan bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cool syrup.
- In a food processor or blender, purée the prepared peaches until smooth.
- Transfer the puree to a bowl and mix in the sugar syrup and lemon juice.
- Cover and chill the peach mixture until cold – a least 4 hours or up to 1 day.
- Process in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturers directions.
- Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden/temper.