Tag Archives: sugar

doughnut peach conserve

A miscommunication and two food shoppers meant that a glut of doughnut peaches over filled our fruit bowls! I absolutely love eating these doughnut shaped peaches… to me they are little flattened pillows of sweetness with a wonderful peachy perfume. If you need a sweet fix… eat a doughnut peach…  you will not stop at one! Less fuzzy skinned than other varieties of peach, the flesh pale, sweet, juicy and low on acidity. Because of their shape, these peaches are also called Saturn or even UFO’s.

With a big bowl full of peaches sitting in front of me I was reading a post by fellow food blogger Appetite For Discovery… it was the cherry filling oozing out of the pie that made me think of a lovely jar of chunky conserve…  the urge to start  skinning some peaches came upon me!

Making home-made conserve or jam is not something I do on a regular basis so using ordinary household utensils for the process suits fine. My mother made jam on many occasions with no fancy equipment and I have vivid memories of the big bubbling pot and the wonderful smell of jam filling our home! The chilled saucers in the freezer ready and waiting for the wrinkle test…  great for licking afterwards! All the saved glass jars lined up on the kitchen table, waiting to be filled with the hot sticky jam. Pressing circles of waxed paper over the surface (this is where I would come in) of the jam, then covering with cellophane and securing with thick brown elastic bands. Once the jam had cooled a flick test with the fingers would be preformed on the cellophane covers, confirming the covers were taut and a proper seal had taken place!

Conserves contain bigger and more whole pieces of fruit than jams, both contain lots of sugar which acts as a preservative, enabling long storage of home-made conserves and jams without the need for refrigeration. As I am not interested in storing jam for months on end in a cupboard, making preserves with a high ratio of fruit and less sugar is my preference… hence this home-made conserve needs to be refrigerated and consumed within three to four weeks… no problem there! A delicious tasting peachy conserve, flavored with orange and a hint of clove… with a lovely spoonable consistency!

Doughnut Peach Conserve

Ingredients:

  • 500g doughnut peaches (choose firm fruit)
  • zest one small orange, afterwards segment the orange taking care not to include any pith or membrane
  • 225g granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (preserves the colour of the fruit and increases the pectin content)
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of home-made vanilla extract, or store-bought

You will need: One 450ml jar with a lid or use a few smaller volume jars, which will need to be sterilized! Some waxed or silicon paper cut into circles to fit the appropriate jars!

Removing the skin from peaches: Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Also fill a large bowl with cold water and throw in some ice cubes. Cut a shallow cross (only into the skin) on the base of each peach with a sharp knife. Place the peaches into the boiling water for about 20 seconds. With the help of a slotted spoon, transfer the peaches quickly into the cold water bath (stops the peaches from cooking) for about 30 seconds. Remove and skin the peaches. Unfortunately all the lovely colour disappears with the skins and the peaches will look somewhat insipid!

This next step is completely optional but wanting to put a bit of blush back into the conserve I gathered the skins of the peaches and gave them a good squeeze over a bowl, collecting about a tablespoon and a half of pinkish coloured liquid (with a bit of flavour)  which I incorporate when making the conserve!

How to make:

Cut each peach into quarters and discard the stone. Cut the orange segments into small pieces.

Add the peaches, juice from the skins (if using) orange zest, orange segments, sugar, lemon juice and cloves into a wide low sided thick-bottomed stainless steel saucepan. Gently mix everything together and let the contents stand undisturbed for about 15 minutes, this process helps extract the juice and also firms up the pieces of fruit enabling chunks of fruit to remain whole in the cooked conserve.

Heat the contents of the saucepan gently while stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar has completely dissolved. Raise the heat and cook steadily (not a rolling boil) until  the fruit is soft and setting point (see note below) has been reached. Take care that the jam does not catch on the bottom of the saucepan and burn! This will take around 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow the conserve to cool for about 10 minutes, stir in the vanilla extract, remove and discard the cloves.

Spoon the peach conserve into a hot sterilized jar.  Press a circle of waxed or silicon paper onto the surface of the conserve and cover with lids.  Store the completely cooled jar in the refrigerator.

How to know when your preserve has reached setting point: Usually I follow the wrinkle test when making a conserve or jam. Spoon a teaspoon of the boiling conserve onto one of the cold saucers from the freezer, let sit for about a minute until cold, then push with your finger… if the preserve wrinkles it has reached setting point, if not, boil for a couple of minutes and test again.

Wonderful delicious ways to use and enjoy Doughnut Peach Conserve:

  • Mix a spoonful of peach conserve thorough a pot of home-made natural yogurt or store-bought, makes a delicious real fruit flavoured yogurt.
  • Place a small chunk of creamy blue cheese or soft goats cheese on a cracker and top with a little blob of peach conserve… I love this combination!
  • Serve the peach conserve as an accompaniment to pan cooked duck breast for a quick fruit sauce.
  • For a quick fruit topping, spoon some peach conserve over plain cheese cake or some vanilla  ice cream.
  • Peach conserve served with warmed croissants, scones, a nice chunk of home-made brown bread or french toast… simple but all delicious!
  • Replace the blackcurrant jam with peach conserve in this Welsh Cheese Cakes recipe.
What is your favourite flavour of conserve or jam? 

pumpkin ice cream

Because the genetic history of the pumpkin is intertwined with the squash I thought I would use pureed butternut squash.  Saying “butternut squash ice cream” does seem like such a mouthful…so pumpkin ice cream it is! You can of course use canned unsweetened pumpkin if you like. Butternut squash has a sweet nutty taste and when blended together with some warm spices makes this a festive type of ice cream. As this is a custard based ice cream using free range eggs is my choice. So if you are a pumpkin fan…start churning!

Ingredients:

  • 225g  prepared butternut squash or canned pumpkin
  • 600ml whipping cream
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice (see note below)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua (optional)
  • for garnish, 50g chopped walnuts (optional)

for the butternut puree

Peel the skin from one large butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes and steam for about 20 minutes or until tender. Pass through a food mill with a medium blade or place in a food processor and process until pureed. Put the pureed butternut squash into a sieve and place over a bowl, letting some of its water drain, about 45 minutes.

for the custard

Place a saucepan over medium heat, pour in the cream, add the brown sugar and pumpkin spice mix.  Stir to dissolve the sugar, heating the cream until bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk the egg yolks and Kahlua (if using) until smooth. Remove the mixture from the heat and gradually but slowly whisk into the egg yolks until combined.

Place the bowl with the mixture over a saucepan of simmering water. Stirring constantly, cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (about 8 minutes) and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it. Do not let the mixture boil at any stage or it will curdle. Remove for the heat and cool, stirring occasionally to stop a skin forming.

Combine the pureed butternut squash or canned pumpkin, vanilla extract and Kahlua (if using) with the cooled mixture. Transfer the mixture to an ice-cream machine and churn according to the manufactures instructions usually 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the churned ice-cream to a freeze safe container, cover and freeze for about 2 or three hours until firm before serving.

Storage: This ice cream can be made a couple of days in advance. By placing  some cling film directly on the surface of the firmed ice cream and covering with a lid helps preserve its fresh taste. Home-made ice-cream will set very hard so I always place the container in the fridge for about 15 to 20 minutes to soften before using an ice-cream scoop.

 Pumpkin Spice Mix

 An electric spice or coffee grinder which is reserved especially for the job of grinding my spices and making up small batches at a time keeps the rich flavour of the spices at their freshest.

  • 1 teaspoon  ground allspice                        1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon         or         1 inch piece  of cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon ground  nutmeg                         4 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger                            1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 pinches of ground cloves                          1 teaspoon ground ginger

If using ground spices:Mix all the ground spices together and store in a small airtight container.

If using whole spices: Grind the allspice, cinnamon and cloves in an electric spice or  coffee grinder, then mix together with the nutmeg and ginger. Store in a small airtight container.

You might also like:

Rose Petal and White Chocolate Ice Cream

Ice cream, sorbet, frozen yoghurt and ices are all types of frozen desserts enjoyed all over the globe. Versatile and popular these frozen treats have many flavour combinations to choose from, each of us having our own personal favourites. Long before mass production, ice cream was traditionally made with a few simple ingredients… milk, cream, sugar, eggs (not always) and natural flavourings. However, over the years and due to its growing popularity and demand, ice cream is now mass-produced.  As a result, the ingredients list of this has grown too…but not always in a good way!

what’s the real scoop?

Is it worth making your own ice cream when so much is available to buy? I believe it is…try reading (the print is so small) the ingredients list on some ice cream cartons.  For example, you may see words like polydextrose, aspartame, lactitiol, maltitol and many E numbers. Do most of us know what they are? Now scroll down and read the ingredients list of this simple home-made ice cream recipe…

I watched these interesting videos regarding ice cream and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and thought I would share… it really is food for thought!  Jamie Oliver on the David Letterman’s show did mention something about beavers anal glands.

Rose Petal and White Chocolate Home-Made Ice Cream

No ice cream machine needed for this very easy smooth and creamy recipe. As it is all cream based… go easy on the servings size.  Serves four but you can easily double the recipe to make more. I like to make small amounts of ice cream at a time, keeping everything as fresh tasting as possible. This ice cream is best served on the day of making.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of chopped dried rose petals
  • 250ml whipping cream
  • 50g  powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rose-water
  • 25g good quality white chocolate

How to make:

Place a metal or plastic container into the freezer to chill.

Add the dried rose petals into a mixing bowl. Pour in the cream and add the powdered sugar. Mix everything together and place the mixing bowl into the fridge for about 10 minutes, the cream will be lightly perfumed by the dried rose petals. Meanwhile finely chop the white chocolate and set aside.

finely chop the rose petals using scissors

Take the mixing bowl from the fridge and whisk the cream until soft peaks form using an electric whisk.  Add the rose-water and white chocolate and fold into the cream using a spatula. Scoop the contents of the mixing bowl into the chilled container from the freezer and smooth over the top of the cream with the spatula. Cover and place in the freezer for about 2 hours or until firm before serving.

whisk the cream into soft peaks 

Tip: Making the ice cream hours ahead of serving you will find the ice cream will have frozen solid and impossible to scoop from the container. Usually what I do is take the container of ice cream from the freezer and place it into the fridge for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. This softens the ice cream, making it easier to scoop into balls with an ice cream scoop.

Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Cream: Omit the dried rose petals. Replace the rose-water and white chocolate with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 25g of finely chopped dark or milk chocolate.

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