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Peach Sangria with Chamomile and Thyme | Relishing It

“Millions of peaches, peaches for me.  Millions of peaches, peaches for free”.  My apologies for putting that song in your head, but I end up humming it every time I make this wonderful sangria.  And while the comical stylings of the band The Presidents of the United States of America (I’m really showing my early 90’s musical roots here) may not be your thing, this drink will be.  If only peaches were free…if only.

Peach Sangria with Chamomile and Thyme | Relishing It

Peach Sangria with Chamomile and Thyme | Relishing It

It’s hard to not like sangria, to be honest.  What’s not to love?  Delicious wine spiked with fruit or fruit juices, sometimes sugar, sometimes bubbles. Yes, please.  Making sangria can be a bit like painting on a canvas.  There are so many colors and choices for your creation.  I enjoy both white and red sangria, but in either style fresh herbs are the key for me.  They give it a little more complexity that so many other versions seem to lack.

Peach Sangria with Chamomile and Thyme | Relishing It

I’ve also recently been experimenting with fresh juices in my sangria.  We have a Breville Juice Fountain Plus and I like to put it to good use.  You may think you’ll waste a lot of the fruit by juicing it, but the truth is, you don’t.  I had almost no pulp when I juiced two peaches for this recipe– the only thing that was discarded was the peel. If you’ve been thinking of purchasing a juicer, summer is the perfect time to do it!  There are so many wonderful fruits and vegetables to experiment with. Of course, if you don’t have a juicer, you can simply peel the peach and purée in a blender– that method will work just fine.  I wanted to create an herby, mostly naturally-sweetened sangria.  Some recipes require a lot of sugar, but I’d rather avoid that if possible.  The addition of chamomile is subtle, but lovely.  And the fresh thyme works magically with the peaches– they’re a wonderful pairing.

Peach Sangria with Chamomile and Thyme | Relishing It

Using fresh juices in addition to chunks of whole fruits helps the flavors meld a bit quicker than just using whole fruit exclusively. It is something you should definitely try before the summer is over!  Enjoy the sangria and for goodness sakes, share some with your *neighbors!

*Speaking of neighbors– shout out to my neighbor Allison and her lovely mother, Shirley for gifting me the gorgeous antique platter in the photos– thank you!

Peach Sangria with Chamomile and Thyme | Relishing It

The Recipe: Happy Hour: Peach Sangria with Chamomile and Thyme

(serves 4)

1 bottle of sparkling white wine, cava, prosecco, or regular white wine

3/4 cup fresh peach juice/purée (from 2 peaches)

1-2 bags of chamomile tea (steeped in 1/2 cup hot water, then cooled)

handful of fresh thyme sprigs

1/2 tablespoon superfine sugar (more or less to taste)

fresh raspberries and peach slices

ice

Begin by steeping the chamomile tea in hot water.  Refrigerate to cool completely.  Juice the peaches by either using a juicer or peel the peaches and purée in a blender.

In a large glass pitcher, add the sparkling white wine, peach juice, chamomile tea, fresh thyme sprigs, and  1/2 tablespoon superfine sugar.  Stir together well and even bruise the thyme with a wooden spoon to release the flavors more.  If time allows, let the flavors meld for 20 minutes or so in the refrigerator.  Then add the ice, fresh raspberries, and peach slices.  Serve in a glass over ice.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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I guess I’m a liar.  I promised you greens and healthy fare this week, and instead I’m delivering cream and sugar.  I am the worst.  But it is nearly Summer after all, so why not get a little excited for homemade ice cream?  While strolling through a neighborhood garage sale a few weeks back I stumbled across a Krups ice cream maker.  For me, this was like striking gold.  Cool, creamy, delicoius gold.  You see, I’ve been wanting an ice cream maker for some time.  I had a chance to use a friend’s a few times and fell in love with the whole process.  So I gave the ice cream maker a home in my kitchen, and began to dream up flavor combinations.  The one criteria was that I wanted to make something that I couldn’t easily find in a grocery store.  I wanted something unique enough to be worth the effort.

Now to be honest, this peach cheesecake version wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.  In fact, it wasn’t even on the list.  This was just going to be a test-run using what I had on hand.  I always have cream cheese, and I knew there were gingersnaps in the pantry.  And there on my counter, were three lonely peaches.  You know the type– they were too hard to eat the first day, we forgot about them on day two, and by day three they were…past their prime, shall we say.  Like I said, this was going to be a test-run.

Well it turns out that my little cobbled-together recipe is dreamy.  The ice cream has a lovely, subtle, peach flavor.  If you want a more powerful fruit flavor, you’ll need to add another peach.  I wasn’t sure the cream cheese was going to work, since it wasn’t going to be perfectly smooth, but it ended up being my favorite addition.  There are wonderful little tidbits of cream cheese speckled throughout the peach and vanilla custard that give this a real cheesecake flavor.  The gingersnaps bring their little crunch for additional texture, and the flavor really marries well with the peach.  As with pretty much all of my recipes, I used the best organic ingredients I could find.  Hope you enjoy the ice cream– and eat a few vegetables before you indulge.

The Recipe:  Peach Cheesecake Ice Cream

(Makes a bit more than 1 quart)

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup 2% milk

5 egg yolks

1 vanilla bean

3 peaches, puréed to yield 2/3 cup

squeeze of lemon

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar, not overly packed

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature, and softened/mashed with a fork

1/2 cup chopped ginger snaps

kosher salt, to taste

To make the custard:  Add 1 cup of the cream, milk, brown sugar, granulated sugar, a healthy pinch of kosher salt, and the vanilla bean to a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat.  Make sure to split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds with a sharp knife.  Add both the seeds and the pod to the saucepan.  Stir frequently to help dissolve the sugars.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until tiny bubbles form around the pan.  Turn off the heat and let the mixture infuse for 1 hour.

In the meantime, peel and quarter the peaches.  Place them in a steamer basket in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Let them steam until they are soft, about 2-3 minutes.  Place them in a small mini-processor with a squeeze of lemon.  Blend until smooth.  Let cool.

When the hour is nearly over, prepare an ice bath by placing a large bowl with ice and water in it, then place a medium -sized bowl into that one.  Pour the remaining cup of cream into the bowl so it becomes very cold.  This will help the custard cool more quickly.

Re-warm the cream mixture until tiny bubbles begin to form around the edge.  Remove from heat.  In a steady stream, pour half of the warm mixture into a bowl containing the egg yolks to temper them, whisking them the entire time.  Then pour that mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat.  Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.  Cook until the mixture thickens slightly , coats the back of a utensil, and can hold a line drawn through it with a finger, about 4-8 minutes.  A thermometer will read 175°-180°F.  Do not let the mixture boil or it will curdle.

With a mesh strainer positioned over the bowl of cream in the ice bath, pour the hot mixture into it.  Stir the mixture until it cools to  70°F.  Add the peach purée and the softened cream cheese to the bowl. Use a whisk to mostly incorporate the cream cheese.  Some small bits that remain are perfect.  Then put the mixture into the refrigerator for 4 hours to cool.  Now it’s ready for your ice cream maker.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  Mix the crushed gingersnaps into the churned ice cream.  Put into the freezer to fully set.  This ice cream is best if let to warm a few minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop and Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now

Thanks for stopping by!

Laurie

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This summer my son, Aanen, declared that peaches are his favorite fruit.  Given the quality of the organic peaches from our co-op this year, he may be right– they’ve been perfectly ripe, juicy, and delicious.  We’ve eaten so many in the last month– and not just for snacks.   Turns out they’re perfect for baking (surprise!) as well.

I’ve made this cake twice in the last couple of weeks– and if the judgment of my family and neighbors is any measure– it’s fantastic.  More than one person has mentioined that it’s one of the best cakes I’ve made.  I agree, and it’s all about the peaches.  This cake is adapted from a fellow Minnesota Food Blogger and friend, Zoe Francois.  I’ve mentioned her before, though you may know Zoe from her well-known cookbook Artisan Bread In Five Minute A Day.  She is an top-notch pastry chef who always has wonderful ideas on her blog, Zoe Bakes.

A few words about what makes this cake stand out.  First, the sauce is unforgettable.  The peaches, butter, and brown sugar meld together to create an amazing flavor.  The addition of three tablespoons of whiskey adds additional complexity.  Both times I’ve made it I’ve wanted to keep licking the spoon.  Second, the flavors of the sauce combine with the caramel-like addition of browned butter in the cake.  I’ve found that the toasty, nutty, carmel flavors of the browned butter make most any dish better.  Here, it really acts as the framework– a subtle backdrop that accentuates the the peach, brown sugar, and whisky perfectly.  Finally, I decided to toast and add millet, a whole grain, for a little bit of texture.  As with most any grain, the toasting adds additional ‘toasty’ flavors.  Here, it also provides a nice little crunch that makes this cake unique.  If you don’t have access to millet, don’t worry.  It’s not a necessity.

The Recipe:  Upside-Down Peach and Cardamom Cake

Peaches:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

pinch of kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

3 tablespoons whiskey (substitute orange juice, if you don’t cook with alcohol)

1 pound peaches (about 2 1/2 large) Cut into slices, peelings can be left on.  (Firm peaches will work well here, as they won’t break down as much)

Cake:

4 ounces (8 tablespoons unsalted butter)

1 cup  (5 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs at room temperature  (To do this quickly:  place eggs in a dish of warm water for roughly 10 minutes)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup buttermilk  (To make your own: mix 1 teaspoon white vinegar into 1/3 cup milk — let sit for 10 minutes)

1/3 Millet, toasted

To toast the Millet:  Place millet into a small frying pan over medium heat, toast until golden and fragrant.  Being careful not to burn.  Remove from heat and set aside.

To brown the butter for the cake:  Place butter into a small saucepan over low heat.   Cook the butter until it is a beautiful caramel color and smells toasted, making sure to stir all the while. Being careful not to burn.  There will be dark brown bits in the pan.  Remove from heat and strain.  Set aside to cool slightly.

To make the peaches: In a large skillet cook together the butter, brown sugar, salt, cardamom, vanilla, whiskey, and peaches.  Cook them on low heat until the juice is as thick as maple syrup.  I ended up removing the peaches so they didn’t fall apart and cooked the juices down a bit more.

Place the peaches and juice into a 8-inch round or square cake pan. (And if you’re a little bit neurotic like myself, you can make a pattern with the peaches while carefully trying not to burn your fingertips.) I also made it in a 9-inch cake pan and it turned out fine, if that’s all you have.  The cake will not be as thick, but still delicious.  (Note: Both times I made the cake, I didn’t butter the pan and it came out easily, but if you’re hesitant — feel free to butter away!)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

To make the cake batter:   In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. Set aside.   Using a paddle attachment, on an electric mixer  (a hand mixer will also work), beat together the browned butter that has cooled a bit, brown sugar, and vanilla.  Add the eggs one at a time, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl after each one.    Alternate adding the flour mixture with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.   Finally, fold in the toasted millet with a spatula.

Place the batter evenly over the peaches and spread it out smoothly.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cake is set and a tester comes out clean.  Let sit until the pan is cool enough to handle and invert onto a serving platter.  I prefer to let the cake cool completely before serving.  This cake begs to be served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream along side of it.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Zoe Francois at Zoe Bakes

As always, thanks for stopping by Relishing It today.  This little blog has become  such an amazing place for me to connect with new friends and still keep in touch with old ones.  I am so happy to share it with all of you.

Laurie

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