Do you like my mountain of peaches?! I almost didn't want to ruin it by using them to cook with... almost. Then I remembered just how amazing peach butter is (and that our current supply was running low) and I quickly got over that. I told you about the wonder of peach butter in a recent post about cherry butter, and when I used it as a glaze for my gammon, but I thought it was high time I showed you what I was raving about. If I don't persuade you just how amazing the taste is, I'm hoping to persuade you with just how pretty it is! Oh, and have I mentioned it makes your house smell INCREDIBLE?!
I'm actually not sure I've enjoyed the process of making a recipe this much before. I know that might sound odd, but even just the making of this is enjoyable! The smell, the gentle bubbling of the pot, the colours, the methodical process... not to mention the anticipation of the final product! I had just finished my last batch when I started looking forward to my next opportunity to make some.
Having told you recently about my issue with food obsessions, I'll admit that peach butter is quickly becoming one of them- especially thinking of what other recipes I could use it in! The current chanting in my head (yes, I said chanting... it's a scary place) is "Peach swirl ice-cream... peach swirl ice-cream.... peach swirl ice-cream". I'm hoping that if I make it soon, the chanting might stop.
Ingredients 1.8kg/ 4 lbs (about 18) very ripe peaches
175ml/ 3/4 cup peach water
300g/ 1.5 cups granulated sugar
1.5 small lemons, juice only
Directions 1) To peel the peaches, we have to shock them. Set a pan of water to boil, and get a bowl with ice cold water ready to the side. At the bottom of each peach, mark a small 'x'. Doing no more than 6 peaches at a time, plunge them into the boiling water for 30 seconds, then transfer them to the iced water. After a minute in the iced water you should be able to simply push back the skin and it will come off like magic! I got quite excited about this discovery, and ended up losing a peach to the floor as they are unbelievably slippery- be warned! Reserve the skins, and keep 3/4 of the water you used to boil the peaches (it will have taken on some of the peach flavour, and we want to keep as much of that as possible).
2) Once you have peeled all the peaches, cut out the stones and cut the peach flesh into bite sized pieces. Place the peach pieces and the reserved peach water in a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat, bring to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer for 20 minutes. If you have a muslin bag, fill it with the reserved skins and tie it tightly. Immerse this in the saucepan along with the peaches for the 20 minutes. The skins hold a lot of the colour and the tartness of the peaches, and make a real difference to the final product.
3) At the end of the 20 minutes the peaches should be soft, but not mushy. Turn off the heat and fish out the muslin bag. You'll need to wear rubber gloves to protect you from the heat, but then squeeze as much of the liquid out the muslin bag as possible and add it to the pot with the peaches.
4) Either use an immersion blender or transfer to a food processor and blend the peach mixture until completely smooth.
5) Add the sugar and lemon juice and stir until combined. Return the mixture to the heat and bring to a fast simmer (almost boiling) and maintain this for 30 minutes. At first you will only have to stir once in while, but from about halfway through start stirring frequently (last 5 minutes constantly) to prevent it from scorching. After 30 minutes check that it's ready by lifting the spoon out- if it creates a ribbon on top of the peach butter you'll know you're good to go.
6) Allow to cool and then enjoy in any number of wonderful ways :)