This summer the peaches called to me. Something about the size and color and ready ripeness, I found myself buying them from supermarkets and a farmer that sets up a table at the monthly arts fairs across the street from my house.
Fruit. Some days in summer, I want nothing but to eat fruit and drink freezing cold water. I love the heat and even humidity, but perhaps the dryness of it creates this overwhelming need. But even at these times, peaches rank low in my go-to choice. So, what to do with the bushels of peaches? Maida includes only three recipes that use peaches in her best desserts book. This summer I made all of them.
The critical part of stewed peaches is Maida’s detailed instruction on how to peel peaches. There is no question it’s a technique to store away in the archive of basic knowledge.
Fill a large pot with water about half to two-thirds full and bring to boil. Use a slotted spoon and gently lower two or three peaches into the water. Continue to boil for 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on how ripe your peaches have become. Gently lift a peach out of the water with the slotted spoon and push the skin with your finger. If it wrinkles, its done. If not, lower the peach back into the water and test again in a couple minutes. Have a big bowl of ice water ready. When peaches are done transfer them to the iced water, again with the slotted spoon. When they have cooled, the skin will peel right off. You do it with your fingers.
I found this technique very rewarding for some reason. I think because it worked. But then stewing the peaches was even better. Ok, Maida uses a lot of sugar and maybe you don’t need to use that much. The syrup, though, could be used on it’s own and I even put some in a little container in the freezer for some future unknown use. I was surprised at the deliciousness of these stewed peaches. Stewed peaches sound sort of yucky, like if you are having trouble chewing or pottying. No. Besides just eating them alone, they would be amazing with ice-cream, blended in a smoothie, made into a topping for shortcakes or toast, mixed into yogurt or oatmeal or a cake batter. I could go on and on. While these don’t really qualify as baking, they could be the start of many future creations.