I made this puree out of a sense of devotion to Thomas Keller. For months have been craving his Peach Salad with Marcona almonds. Finally, peach season has begun and I have a chance to indulge. Usually I don't follow recipes with such precision, but Keller's recipe calls for peach puree as a base for the salad's dressing and Keller brings out the perfectionist in me.
from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home
- 2 pounds ripe peaches
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
First peel the peaches. If the skins cannot be easily removed, bring a pot of water to a boil. Cut an X in the bottom of each peach that extends about 2/3rds of the way up the sides. Plop the peaches in the simmering water for 30-60 seconds or until the skins begin to loosen. (My peaches were not super ripe so it took a few minutes in the hot water before the skins were loose.) Remove peaches from boiling water and transfer them to an ice bath.
Remove pits and cut peach flesh into 1/2 inch pieces. Puree the peaches in a blender (Keller suggests a Vita-Mix machine. I just used my regular blender). Put puree through a fine mesh strainer.
Mix puree, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Keller suggests placing a candy thermometer on the pan and cooking the puree at a simmer until it reaches 215-220 degrees. Skim off foam as it appears. (I would suggest keeping an eye on the texture of the puree as it cooks. By the time my puree reaches 200 degrees it was a bit too thick. ) Remove from heat.
Pour puree into a jar and let cool to room temp. Cover and refrigerate for up to one month.
I have to confess, after making the peach salad, I am not sure that I would go to the effort of cooking the peach puree again. It isn't terribly difficult to make, but it felt like one step too many (and led to the dirtying of way too many dishes) just to make a salad. Simply adding diced peach to the dressing will be enough for me next time. Regardless of my lazy tendencies, I felt I should share Keller's recipe with you. The puree does find other uses - like being mixed in with yogurt or spread on toast. And if Keller brings out the perfectionist in you, I wanted you to have access to his complete original recipe.
Makes about 2 cups