This post is a part of the Two-For-Tuesday blog carnival!!!
Today, I had the most fantastic stroke of luck ever: our friends who were going out of town gave us their CSA box for the week, and in it were mostly nectarines. All of this the day after I had picked up about 5 lb of peaches at the farmers’ market. Peach jackpot!! We all know that peaches are delicious, but it’s also one of the best medicines for heat and dryness. Which makes it either a product of genius design, or a massive stroke of luck that it is abundant during the peak of summer heat, when I’m most inclined to go and hide under a rock, and grumble until fall arrives.
I wrote more about peach as medicine in a separate post.
These peaches were an experiment– inspired by a recipe for mulled pears that I read in the River Cottage Preserves Handbook— in which I tried to use up the ends of the bottles of white wine in my fridge door (which makes me sound like a lush, but I use them all for cooking, I swear), and some thyme that I’d picked for dinner last night that went unused. But you know what? They’re amazing. Enough to bring me out from under my rock.
You have to try them. Trust me on this one. You won’t regret it. The flavours of the brandy and nectarines and vanilla and thyme all meld together to make this great symphony of summer deliciousness. I drank all of the juice, and I’m thinking of breaking into another jar. I’m thinking of hiding a few jars from myself so that I find them in the fall and have something to remind me of summer. And I’m thinking of all the things I can do with them– like covering them in craime fraiche, or putting them on a custard tart, or alongside a roast lamb, or eating them all straight out of the jar, and then using the syrup with champagne to make a much more down-to-earth version of a Bellini. The possibilities are endless. I think I’m in love.
Peaches in a vanilla, thyme and brandy syrup.
Makes eight 8-oz jars.
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups water
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups brandy
3 lb peaches or nectarines
15 sprigs thyme (plus extra for garnish in jars)
3 tsp vanilla paste
Preheat oven to 500, and place empty jars in for 15 minutes, before reducing heat to 300.
Make a syrup: bring the water, thyme and sugar to a boil, then turn off heat and add the vanilla paste, wine and brandy. Bring back to a boil then remove from heat.
While the syrup is heating up, cut all of the peaches in half, discarding the pits (or throwing them into a separate mason jar, to make a peach-pit brandy tincture).
Remove the jars from the oven (with tongs!), place an equal amount of thyme in each jar, and stuff as many peach halves as you can inside, leaving an inch space at the top. Then pour over the syrup, until covering all the fruit, leaving half an inch of space at the top.
Screw the lids on, and place in the oven at 300 for half an hour.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. If the lids all seal properly, they will keep for up to a year.
ps. A huge thank you to Alex for giving me my first ever blogger award. I’ll be sure to pass it on in the next couple of days. x