Even though I currently have over 10 pounds of peaches on my counter (I have two different peach preserves coming up this week – at 49-cents a pound for ripe, local peaches, how could I not?) I have a confession to make.
I prefer nectarines.
Shhhhh . . . don’t tell the peaches!
There is just something luscious about nectarines that I adore. A variety of the peach, I love the smoother skin, the more vibrant flavor and the firmer flesh for eating out of hand. The scent is intoxicating, just slightly more exotic than it’s sister, the peach, and one that I would voluntarily dab behind my ear for a sweet surprise for my sweetheart . . .
When it is nectarine season, I keep pounds of them on hand and eat them daily. Sliced and mixed with blueberries over yogurt or cottage cheese for breakfast, served as a snack to my boys with some creamy cheese over crackers and sliced and served over ice cream after a barbecue.
Or, errr. . . as the ice cream. When I saw the image (seen above) from David Lebovitz’ book, “The Perfect Scoop,” I drooled. It brought back such beautiful flavor memories and I had to make it.
When I was fifteen, I went to Italy for the first time (I say first. I haven’t been back. But I intend to so there is a first time for everything!) with my high school choir. We sang our way through Italy, (Firenze holds my heart, by the way) and while there I fell in love.
I seriously ate it every single day, sometimes twice a day, while there.
I had a minimal daily budget for food, and would find the best, cheapest sandwiches at little trattoria’s along the way just so I could save and spend my lire on gelato. And I would eat whatever was fresh and seasonal. I could find chocolate ice cream at home. No thanks. But a scoop of papaya and a scoop of coconut? Yes please. Pineapple and mango? Drool. I learned the Italian words for fruits better than I learned the directions to the churches where we were set to sing that evening. I loved it.
So when I came across the Nectarine sorbet recipe (AND PICTURE!) I had to make it. It was delightful.
Smooth, fresh and purely nectarine. I served it to my boys with blueberries, and served mine over a glass of Zinfandel. Magical. Try it, please!
makes about 1 quart
lightly adapted from The Perfect Scoop
- 2 pounds nectarines
- 2/3 cup water
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon kirsch or 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
Slice the nectarines in half and remove the pits.
(Since most of the nectarines I come across are clingstone, what I do is cut across them alongside the pit parallel to the seam of the nectarine on both sides (kind of like a mango, if you have cut a mango. Also, do you like how I do parentheses inside of parentheses? And as it’s own paragraph? (A true sin of grammar, I agree.) Should I use [brackets?] Maybe that’s more mathematical than grammatical. Who knows.) and then slice around it to get as much of the nectarine goodie as possible without dealing with the annoying pit.)
Cut the unpeeled nectarines into small chunks and cook them with the water in a medium, nonreactive sauce pan, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally until they’re soft and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add a bit more water if necessary during cooking.
Remove from the heat and stir in the honey. Allow to cool to room temperature, then puree into a blender until smooth (this took about three minutes, scraping down occasionally, to get a really smooth mixture). Stir in the kirsch or lemon juice (I used lemon juice since I’d be serving it to my boys.) and then chill the mixture thoroughly before freezing it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Note: Since there is no fat and little sugar in this sorbet, if you freeze it very firm it will be quite icy and difficult to scoop. If you are serving it the same day you make it, allow it to freeze only for an hour or so before you serve. If you make it a day or two in advance, take it out at least twenty minutes before you plan to scoop and serve as it will be nearly impossible to scoop – you’ll get frustrating shards of sorbet rather than scoops – if you try to scoop any earlier.