When you get great peaches, all you want to do is not screw them up. And most of the time, that's pretty easy: just eat them straight, maybe with some bourbon-spiked whipped cream on the side. But if you want to be more creative, or you have some less than stellar specimens (perfectly ripe but a hair too tart, or not quite as sweet as you'd like), there's no easier trip from fruit to dessert than sorbet. Especially this one, which is also kind to frozen peaches, and doesn't even make you remove the skins.
These kinds of sorbets are dead simple. Dice your peaches, blend them with acid and sugar, and add salt to taste. That's it. No water, syrup, or other flavors needed. I leave the skins on because 1) I'm lazy, and would rather strain for two minutes than peel for five, and 2) I think they add a certain complex tartness to the purée. But if you're using frozen peaches—and it's totally okay if you are—don't worry about it. Add a touch more acid if you like; my choice is lime juice, an under-appreciated peach bedfellow.
I find that sorbets tend to work even better with imperfect fruit because they demand a ton of sugar to freeze right. If you have a perfectly ripe, honeyed peach, that much sugar can dull its complexity. But if your peach is a bit too tart, sugar rounds out its flavor perfectly. (Of course, do feel free to use your fantastic peaches here too; the sorbet you see above was made with a generous shipment from the good people at Frog Hollow Farms, who grow some fine, fine stonefruit.)
To serve, a not too sweet coffee cake is nice. Or more of that bourbon-ized whipped cream. Cream optional.
- Yield:makes 1 quart
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:3 hours
- 3 pounds fresh or frozen peaches (about 8 whole), diced (leave peels on)
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed juice from 1 lime (see note)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine peaches, lime juice, and sugar in a food processor and purée until very smooth with no large chunks. You should have about 1 quart of purée. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into an airtight container and add salt to taste. Press a piece of plastic wrap against surface of purée and chill for 2 to 3 hours, or until very cold.
Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a container and chill in freezer for 2 to 3 hours, or until firm.