This time of year involves a lot of temptation for me. Fruits of all types and varieties are in season and piled high in colourful displays but because of an odd and massively awkward allergy I can't eat many of them in their natural state. Juicy plums, nectarines and cherries are all enticing me to sink my teeth into them but would leave my throat red raw for hours. Not life threatening but inconvenient to say the least.
Earlier this week I was particularly tempted by some flat peaches at the wonderful delicatessan Best of Italy when inspiration struck. I could caramelise some peach slices and use them as the basis for a cocktail (I'm no longer allergic once the fruit has been cooked). But what to make? I love a classic Bellini but wanted to try something a little more exotic. Most of the recipes Google provided called for Peach Schnapps, something I cannot abide, rather than the actual fruit. I finally decided to try a take on one of my favourite cocktails, a Mojito, by replacing the normal sugar or sugar syrup, with the sweetness of the stewed peaches and the caramel sauce the stewing process creates.
It's a small miracle I had enough ingredients left for cocktail experimentation as I scoffed a lot of the caramelised peaches on their own, they are so good. Caramelising fruit like this is something I haven't really experimented with much, it breaks my heart to have to adulterate fresh fruit in order to be able to eat it, but the results really are worth it.
|The Prototype - too much mint!|
Peach Mojito (Makes One)
3 Peach Quarters and 1.5 tbsp of the sauce*
Juice of half a lime
2 large mint leaves, plus a sprig to garnish
1 shot of Bacardi (Irish measure - 35.5mls or thereabouts)
Handful of Ice
Soda Water to top up
Place the peach and sauce in the glass part of a Boston Shaker (or any shaker/large glass you have) with the lime juice and mint leaves and muddle together. Add your Bacardi and stir to combine. Half fill a tall glass with ice and pour your peach mixture over. Top up with Soda water and a few more ice cubes, stir, add a straw and garnish with a sprig of mint.
You will notice that the photos above have a lot more than two mint leaves in them. The peach flavour is quite delicate and was overpowered completely by the mint in this prototype version. However, we're dedicated to our cocktail research here at Gastronomic Girls and I persevered until I reached a better balance of flavour. In future I will also remove the skins from the peaches and possibly blend them before adding to the cocktail to make it easier to drink.
*Stewed Peaches with Honey
Half tbsp of unsalted butter
One tbsp honey
One tbsp water
3 flat peaches, quartered (If using round peaches, use 2 and cut into eighths)
Melt the honey and butter together on a medium/high heat. When it bubbles, add the water and turn the heat to medium/low. Add the peaches and stir to coat with the sauce, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure all the slices cook evenly.
This is also lovely on it's own, with yoghurt, ice cream or meringue, or anything else you can dream up!