Monday, July 16, 2012

Peach Cooler

Part-beverage, part-Italian ice, consider this a slushy for grown ups.  It's the perfect way to use all those super-fresh peaches you've picked up at the farmers' market.

  • 3 cups peeled and coarsely chopped peaches
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water, divided*
  • 3/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white rum
1. Combine the peaches and 1/2 cup water in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.  Transfer to a sieve, and strain into a bowl, pressing with a spatula.  Discard the solids.

Note: the 'solids' are the coarse bits of peach flesh that don't puree all the way down, so you're left with a smooth peach liquid.  The final product should have the result of a strained soup.

2. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1 cup water and the sugar in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and stir in the peach mixture, lemon juice, and rum.  Pour the mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish.  Cover and freeze until firm - at last 4 hours, but you'll probably need closer to 7 or 8 hours.  The mixture should no longer be liquid, but it also shouldn't be frozen so solid that you can't remove it from your baking dish.

3. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until slushy - at this point it looks like a blended daiquiri or frozen margarita.  

4. Return to the baking dish and return to the freezer for at least 3 hours.  Let stand in the fridge for 30 minutes to soften slightly before serving.  I enjoyed serving with straws for a fun presentation.

*Although it doesn't matter so much for the 1 cup water that gets boiled, I recommend using filtered water for the 1/2 cup pureed with the peaches.  Since that portion of water is never heated, you'll want to be sure it contains no impurities.  Tap water is fine, on the other hand, for 1 cup water that comes to a boil.

Nutrition Info:
8 serving (2/3 cup), Calories 109 

Tasting Notes:
Peachy keen!  Which I mean quite literally - the taste of fresh peaches shining through.  I worried this would be too sweet, and although borderline, I ended up enjoying itDecrease the sugar to 1/2 cup if you want a little more peach, a little less sweet.  The lemon juice gave it a nice bright note, and the rum was only slightly distinguishable, so use more if you want this to be a cocktail-hour treat.  My only real complaint was with the texture.  In retrospect, I would serve just after pureeing until slushy, instead of returning to the freeze for another 3 hours.  By then, it really is more like a granita or sorbet than a drink.

Let stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes if you agree, and you'll wind up with something closer to this:


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