Summer’s stone fruit bounty draws me on a regular basis to my outdoor farmers’ markets. Boasting many different varieties of peaches, both yellow and white-fleshed, the market tables groan under the weight of the options. And given my predilection for autumnal Darjeeling teas with their peachy aroma and round flavor, I love to feature the teas and the fruit in any number of simple-to-make desserts at this time of year.
A bit of advice: taste before you buy. If the fruit is fragrant, then most likely it will have a rich and beautiful taste. If not, move on to the next stand. Decide which ones appeal, knowing that the fruits are best kept at room temperature before using (not more than 2 days if your kitchen is warm). Ripe but not overripe, yielding to gentle pressure and easy to peel, yellow peaches are my favorites right about now. Tart yet sweet and juicy, these fruits tinged with deep orange and red and are perfect for poaching in brewed tea. And if you are just a bit more ambitious—and patient—make the ice cream flavored with tea to top things off. Here’s how:
Tea poached peaches served à la mode
Yield: 4 servings
1 quart of good quality water
1 T. of premium quality whole leaf Darjeeling tea (make sure the tea is fragrant before brewing; if not, throw it out and try another)
1 c. granulated sugar
4 medium-sized ripe yellow fleshed peaches of your choice, peeled, halved and pitted
Bring the water to a boil. Add the tea and sugar and continue to cook at a simmer for 5 minutes, making sure that the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat, strain the liquid through a fine meshed sieve into a saucepan, discarding the tea leaves. Place the peaches into the pan and cook at a mere simmer just until the fruit is very tender, but not disintegrating, occasionally turning the fruit over gently in the liquid. Remove from the heat and allow to cool at room temperature. When cool, transfer the peaches carefully to a wide bowl, pour the poaching liquid over them, cover the bowl and refrigerate.
Now make the simple, eggless Darjeeling Tea Ice Cream as follows:
1 c. heavy cream
2 T. premium quality whole leaf Darjeeling tea
¾ c. granulated sugar
2 c. whole milk
1 t. real vanilla extract
Garnish: ½ c. pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
Place the heavy cream into a heavy saucepan. Add the tea leaves and the sugar and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Allow the mixture to stand for about 10 minutes at room temperature. Now pour the mixture through a fine meshed sieve set over a bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much flavor from the tea as possible. Discard the tea leaves. Add the milk and vanilla to the mixture, stirring to combine. Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate for 2 hours, or up to overnight to allow the base to mellow out. Now freeze the mixture in an ice cream machine, according to manufacturers’ instructions. When frozen, remove from the ice cream machine and place into a container with a tight fitting lid. Freeze at least 4 hours or up to two days.
To serve: Place one peach halve on a chilled dessert plate. Position a scoop of the ice cream on top of the fruit. Top with another peach half, pressing the fruit down gently over the ice cream. Serve immediately, sprinkled with some of the pistachios. What to drink with? A cup of nicely brewed Darjeeling.
Featured image courtesy of Lauren Wemischner