because gluten-free food doesn't have to be rubbish

Just peachy

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So it turns out photographing food is harder than it looks. I had a great idea of a shot of lemon sorbet, with some peach sauce drizzled artfully over the top, and a spoon on the side to give it some perspective and what I ended up with was, well, white blob and orangey mush. And you too could be the proud owner of your very own orangey mush! This summer I’ve read a lot about “canning”, an American term that means putting stuff in jars and preserving it. We don’t have an equivalent term here really. “Preserving” would be the closest, though it sounds rather old fashioned. Who eats “preserves” on their toast these days? “Jarring” would be more fitting and yet doesn’t have quite the right ring to it. It jars somewhat (apologies, that was bad). “Jamming” is the best I could come up with, though it of course excludes all those pickles and sauces that don’t fall under the name of jam. But for want of a better term I’ll stick with jamming for now. It sounds quite fun, and also addictive. Alas, space is not something I had lots of (nor empty jars for that matter), so making huge batches of jam is probably not a project to be attempted this year. However, the idea has stuck in my mind, and despite the aforementioned restrictions I wanted to make something jammy. I’ve read quite a bit about freezer jam, a good starting point for people wary of sterilising jars and seals and long words and scary implications of preserving food. Freezer jam is just jam you store in the freezer, to save worrying about canning it correctly, or finding it’s mouldy when you open it six months down the line. This is just perfect for beginners, like me. But since I don’t eat much jam, I decided to make a freezer sauce instead.

So my first foray into jamming. It’s not a jam. It’s not in a jar. And its only method of preservations is being frozen. But anyway. I decided to use some of my mountain of steadily squishier peaches and turn them into sauce. A nice simple peach sauce. For drizzling (or splodging) on ice cream, pancakes and anything else that benefits from a fruity covering. I didn’t want this sauce to be thick and jam-like, so no pectin here. And in the spirit of developing more intuitive cooking I decided that peach sauce can’t be too hard to make and I would eschew all recipes and advice and dive right in. Which didn’t turn out as disastrously as it could have and in fact I would be tempted not only to make this again, but also to play around with other fruits as well. There’s something so nice in knowing that this sauce contains peaches, a bit of sugar and some lemon juice. No corn syrup, no colourings, just lots of fruit. And it’s yummy.

Peach Sauce
4 large peaches
3 tablespoons sugar (you may need more depending on how sweet the peaches are)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Halve the peaches and remove the stones. Place in a pan of freshly boiled water for 60 seconds, then drain immediately and douse in ice cold water for another 60 seconds or until cool enough to handle. The skins should now slip off the peaches easily.

2. Put the naked peach halves back in the saucepan with about a tablespoon of water, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Put on a low heat to simmer for 15 minutes.

3. When the peaches are nice and soft mash them with a potato masher. Add another 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the peaches. The amount of sugar will depend on how ripe the peaches are, what you intend to do with the sauce, and your personal preference. My peaches were nice and ripe and since this sauce will be used mainly for ice cream and perhaps as a side to some meats, I didn’t want it too sweet. If it’s for pancakes, you might want to up the sugar a little. Taste as you go and decide what suits you.

4. Simmer the mixture for a further 10 minutes or so, just to thicken it up slightly. Then remove from the heat and and blend with an immersion blender for 1 minute. This stage, again, depends on how smooth you want your sauce. I blended mine until it was mainly smooth, with a few small pieces of peach left in it. You may wish to turn it into a smooth puree, or leave it chunky.

5. Serve – hot or cold, over chocolate ice cream, lemon sorbet, pancakes or a pork escalope.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups of sauce. I would store this for up to 3 days in a jar or other airtight container in the fridge. Any sauce that isn’t used immediately can be poured into ziplock bags and put in the freezer. When you want to use it, defrost in the fridge overnight, or the microwave and serve.


Written by guffblog

20th September 2010 at 18:47

Posted in Sauces

Tagged with ,

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