If anyone asks what my favorite fruit is, I always answer peaches, but not just any peach. White peaches are my absolute favorite fruit. Besides eating peaches as they are, my other favorite ways to enjoy them are in desserts. I love this peach galette, a foolproof fruit tart recipe that I rely on every summer. But I also love to make sorbets, ice creams, and sherbets. What could be a better dessert than a cooling scoop or two? This summer it's white peach sherbet all the way.
Just think of the sherbets from when you were a kid and the ones available in the supermarket. Don't you ever wonder what those fluorescent colors are actually made of? They're hardly fruit. Though as a kid I too loved eating them, but not anymore. This recipe couldn't be easier. Sherbet is unlike ice cream in that the milk or cream is not cooked. In ice cream you almost always need to make a custard from eggs and milk and simmer it until thick. Sherbet is simply puréed fruit mixed with milk and then frozen.
Is there such a thing as the perfect peach? I think the first time I ever saw and tasted a white peach was when I was traveling through Hungary. My mom and I picked up some beautiful, huge white peaches at a market in Budapest. I remember them being the most juicy and tasty white peaches. Every one since just pales in comparison. But some come very close.
Every July and August my family tries to make a trip out to Silverman's Farm in Easton, Connecticut. The pick-your-own peaches are top quality, above and beyond any supermarket peach. I always eagerly await the white peaches, and this year much like last, they've come in a bit late in August. They're just starting to be picked at the farm. I was lucky to pick half a bagful this past weekend since so few were ripe. It's soon to be the best time to pick white peaches. The yellow peaches are practically overripe, so hurry now if you prefer them. Otherwise why not try a white peach? You might be surprised at how much more fragrant and sweet they are than the yellow ones.
White Peach Sherbet
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living, August 2006.
Note: A touch of vodka helps form smoother ice crystals when the sherbet freezes, preventing grittiness.
2 pounds ripe white peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vodka
1 cup whole milk
Combine peaches and lemon juice in a bowl to prevent browning. Add sugar and let macerate for 10 minutes. Purée with an immersion blender. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.
Add vodka and milk, purée again to combine. Mixture should be smooth and frothy. Transfer to ice cream maker and churn for about 45 minutes, depending on the machine. Transfer to a large container, such as a loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until hard, about 12 hours or overnight. Yield: 2 quarts.