Sweet & Spicy Peach Jalapeño Jam

When you’re sitting in an abundance of peaches, and the jalapeños are right outside in the garden, you start thinking of all sorts of great ideas for them.  This jam is perfect with its kick of heat and the sweetness of the peaches.

Spicy Peach 1

Oh my goodness, have to run out right now and get a wheel of Brie to serve this on.  It’s that good.  And that easy!

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 lbs (about 7-8) very ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and roughly chopped (you should have about 8 cups of fruit)
  • 3 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cups sugar* (see below, for Ringo En Orchard peaches you can halve this amount)
  • ½ tsp. Lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. Freshly grated ginger
  • 3 TBSP (half a 1.75oz packet) powdered pectin
  • 3 jalapeno peppers**
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Before you begin, place a small plate or saucer in the freezer so you can check the jam’s consistency towards the end of cooking.
  2. (Optional), if you plan on canning your jam, bring a large stock pot of water to a boil and cook your (clean and empty) jars and lids to sterilize them. Using canning tongs, remove the jars to a clean dish towel to dry. Keep the stock pot of water at the ready for sealing the jars later.
  3. To peel the peaches, blanch quickly in boiling water (thirty seconds should do), then transfer to a bowl of cool water. This will help the skins slide off easily using just your hands. One peeled, remove the pits and roughly chop the peaches. Place in a large pot or enameled dutch oven (stay away from bare cast iron or aluminum, as the acidity of the jam can react with the metal).
  4. To the pot with the peaches, add the sugar, 2 TBSP lemon juice, cider vinegar, lemon zest, ginger, and pectin. Stir to combine, and let sit for 10-15 minutes to macerate.
  5. Meanwhile, prep your jalapenos. Remove the stems, and cut the peppers in half lengthwise. If you want a spicy jam, leave all of the seeds and veins in the peppers. For a milder jam, remove some or all of the seeds and veins by scooping them out with a spoon. (See recipe notes for more details.)
  6. Add the peppers to the bowl of your food processor, and pulse until very finely chopped, scraping down the sides if needed.
  7. Add the chopped peppers to the pot with the rest of the ingredients, and place over high heat. As the mixture heats up, gently break up the peaches with a potato masher or fork. (If you prefer a smoother jam, use an immersion blender to puree the mixture BEFORE turning on the heat.)
  8. Bring the mixture to a full boil, and let cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from scorching. As the mixture boils, skim off any foam that appears on the surface.
  9. To test the jam, spoon a small amount onto the saucer that’s been chilling in the freezer. This will give you an idea of how thick the jam will be once it’s cooled. If the jam sets up to your liking, it’s done. If it’s too loose, cook a few minutes longer and test again. (Once the jam has cooled on the plate, this is the perfect opportunity to give it a taste. Keep in mind that the jam will taste significantly spicier while it’s fresh than it will the next day. If you’re worried that it is still going to be too spicy, or if it isn’t sweet enough, you can add an additional ½ cup of sugar and cook until completely dissolved.)
  10. Once the jam starts to set up to your liking, remove it from the heat and stir in the remaining TBSP of lemon juice.
  11. Carefully ladle the hot jam into your clean jars (a canning funnel is a big help, if you have one) leaving about ½ inch of head room in each jar. Once the jars are filled, wipe the rims with a damp towel to ensure a clean seal, and screw on the lids.
  12. (Optional) if you want to preserve your jam, return the sealed jars to the stock pot of boiling water, lowering them in carefully with canning tongs, and making sure the water is deep enough to cover the jars completely. Cover the pot with a lid and let the jars process in the water bath for 6-8 minutes. Remove the jars and set them carefully onto a clean kitchen towel. Let sit at room temperature, undisturbed, until completely cool. If you’re using ball jars, the metal lids should make a “pop” or “ting” sound as they cool, and the bump in the center of the lids should no longer flex when pushed down on, letting you know the jars have properly sealed. If any jars don’t seal completely, store these in the fridge and use within a couple months. Jars that are properly sealed can be kept in a cool dark place for up to a year.
Spicy Peach 2

Sweet peaches, just gently stirred with the rest of the ingredients, waiting for their buddy ….. Spicy Jalapeños.

Spicy Peach 3

I opted to use my immersion blender to get a mostly smooth jam, leaving a few chunky bits for a little texture.

Spicy Peach 4

Cook until the jam has this glossy glorious sheen to it.  Once it cools it thickens.

 

This recipe is ENTIRELY from Willow at ww.willcookforfriends.com …. I didn’t change a thing, and it was perfect.  Willow notes that her peaches are not necessarily that sweet, but living here in the Okanagan Valley, and at Ringo En Orchard, our peaches are THE BEST, so I reduced the sugar (according to her suggestion) to 2 1/2 cups sugar.  That was perfect …. the trick is to taste your peaches!

NOTES

*Living here in the midwest, the sweetest peaches I can come by still pale in comparison to true southern, tree-ripened peaches. If your fruit are especially sweet, you can feel free to start with less sugar, and add more to taste. (Keep in mind that if you plan on canning your jam, less sugar means a shorter shelf life.)

**The heat of a hot pepper is contained (mostly) in the seeds and veins. To control how spicy your jam is, you can leave these in (hot!), or remove some or all of them (mild). I found I really liked the level of heat from de-seeding one of the peppers, while leaving the other two. If you aren’t sure how much heat you want, I suggest de-seeding all but one of the peppers, and adjust from there with future batches to find what you like best. (And of course, if you just want some good ol’ fashioned peach jam, you can leave the jalapenos out all together. Ain’t nothing wrong with that!)

Keep in mind that the jam will mellow considerably over the first 24-48 hours after being made, so don’t worry if it seems spicier than you want at first. When I first tasted my batch, it was waaaay spicier than I wanted. The next day? Perfection!

Prosciutto wrapped stone fruit

Prosciutto & peaches grilled

I prefer nectarines, or slightly underripe peaches. Make sure your fruit is not overly ripe or it will become mushy on the grill.

These little gems are one of my most requested appetizers …. and looking at all that snow outside makes me think fondly of summer days.  The only time I make this is when stone fruit is in season, and we can grill.

Prosciutto & peaches

Ready for the grill

Ingredients

  • stone fruit, pitted & quartered (you can cut them into 6 pieces if they are large)
  • goats cheese
  • prosciutto
  • apricot jam (optional)
  • pepper (freshly cracked)

Once fruit is prepared, place a tablespoon or so of goat cheese on a section, and wrap with a piece of prosciutto.

If you want to use the apricot jam, brush over pieces right before they hit the grill.  I’ve used it, or olive oil, or nothing and we love them anyway they are done.  Grill just until the prosciutto crisps up a bit and has grill marks.  Sprinkle with cracked pepper and enjoy.

Fruit Tart with Lemon Cookie Crust

Summer fruit is here, and we have the best of it right out our door.  Fresh cherries, peaches and blueberries all ready at the same time inspired this dessert for Sunday dinner ……  Don’t you just love Sunday Family Dinners??  We sure do.

Fresh Fruit Tart with Lemon Cookie Crust

The best of the seasonal cherries, peaches and blueberries retain their fresh bright flavour in this dessert – no cooked fruit here!

COOKIE CRUST

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. For crust, in a medium bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon peel, the baking powder, vanilla, and salt; beat until combined. Add egg; beat until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour (or knead gently until combined).

lemon cookie tart

Press dough onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch round tart pan with removable bottom.

tart shell

If you don’t have a tart pan with removable base, use your springform pan.  It worked just fine …. at least until I get myself some tart pans with removable bottoms!

Line crust with a double thickness of foil. Bake crust for 6 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 6 to 7 minutes more or until crust is lightly browned. Cool crust on a wire rack.

CREAMY VANILLA CUSTARD

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups milk

Whisk all ingredients together in sauce pan, and stir over medium heat until mixture bubbles and thickens.  Remove from heat and stir in:

1 tsp vanilla

Cover surface of the custard with a layer of plastic wrap and allow to cool completely.

GLAZE

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup juice (something that works well with whatever fruit you are using)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

In a small saucepan, stir together cornstarch and sugar.  Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring often to prevent clumps.  Allow to boil long enough for the liquid to lose the cloudy look of cornstarch.  Set aside to cool slightly.

ASSEMBLY

Leave cookie crust in tart pan, and spread the custard in an even layer.  Make sure the custard is cool at this point, you don’t want your fruit to get cooked!  The beauty of this dessert is that it really showcases the mouthwatering flavour of fruit that is in season, and you don’t want to lose that.

Arrange fruit over custard layer.

Brush glaze over fruit, just enough to set the fruit and keep the vibrant colours.

Cool completely before serving.

Peach Sorbet

Some days the creamy smooth texture of homemade ice cream, made with peaches ripe and still warm from the sun is exactly what I’d like …. other times the bright and fresh taste of peach sorbet is ideal.  It is so refreshing that it is like an icy peach.

Fresh peaches

Peaches right off the tree can’t be beat!

At this time of year, I like to have simple syrup made and cold in the fridge so it is ready to go whenever the fruit is bursting with flavour.  It’s called simple syrup for a reason – just bring equal parts water and white sugar to a boil, allow sugar to dissolve completely and remove from the heat.  Stir well and keep in the fridge.

My kitchenaid mixer gets a lot of use, and the ice cream maker bowl attachment was a brilliant purchase.

Puree about 2 pounds of fresh peaches (you want to end up with about 5 cups of peach puree.  Stir in the juice of 1 lemon and a dash of salt.  Allow to completely chill in the fridge before pulling out your ice cream maker.

Combine peach & lemon puree, 1 1/2 cups simple syrup and stir in 1 tsp vanilla paste.

With the bowl of your ice cream maker turning already, slowly pour in the mixture and allow your mixer to do the work – usually it takes about 20 minutes, but this can vary depending on the temperature of your peach puree, and the temperature in the kitchen.  Once the mixture looks smooth and thickened, put it into a clean container in the freezer to firm up.

 

IMG_9227

 

Raspberry Peach Pecan Galette

This recipe works really well with any berry or fruit – the pecans give the pie crust a rich, nutty, crunchy texture and flavour. Really – what is a galette? An easy way to make a pie!

Ready for the oven, this raspberry peach galette looks delicious already.

Ready for the oven, this raspberry peach galette looks delicious already.

DOUGH
1/2 cup pecans (toasted)
1 cup plus 2 TBSP flour
2 tsp raw sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter (in small pieces)

FILLING
2 cups raspberries
1 peach
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar, plus a bit more to sprinkle on crust
2 tbsp milk or heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375

Once your pecans have been toasted, and cooled – pulse in food processor until they are a coarse crumble. Add flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Pulse just until combined. Add butter pieces and pulse just until mixture looks like a coarse crumble – a few pea sized bits are great. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and drizzle in 4 tbsp ice water and mix. If necessary add another tablespoon of water just until it comes together. Gently pat the dough into a circle, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in fridge for at least 1 hour. (it will keep in the fridge for 2 days or you can freeze it for a month)

Toss raspberries, cornstarch, lemon juice and 1/4 cup sugar in bowl.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12″ round. Carefully put on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Mound fruit mixture into centre of dough, leaving about 2″ around the edge. Fold edges over, overlapping slightly.

Brush dough with milk or cream and sprinkle raw sugar over.

Peel, and slice peach – in the center opening, arrange peach slices.

Bake until crust is dark golden brown and filling is bubbling – at least 45 minutes.

Fruit bubbling and oozing, crust golden brown ….. difficult to wait for it to cool before slicing!

Fruit bubbling and oozing, crust golden brown ….. difficult to wait for it to cool before slicing!

Allow to cool before slicing.

Peaches and raspberries were ripe and ready at the same time this year, so I served this with a yummy peach bursting sorbet …..

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Prosciutto wrapped nectarines

Anything wrapped in prosciutto has to be great! These are fabulous little appetizers that – once you have made them for anybody – are sure to be requested again. I have made them with both nectarines and peaches – whatever looks best in the market.

These appetizers are sure to be a crowd pleaser

These appetizers are sure to be a crowd pleaser

Cut fruit into wedges large enough to handle – probably 6 wedges out of one piece of fruit. ( try to use fruit that isn’t too soft…..)
Put 1 heaping teaspoon of goat cheese into cavity from stone
Tightly wrap prosciutto (I usually halve slice lengthwise)
If desired, glaze with a bit of warm apricot jam

Grill just until you have beautiful grill marks and the prosciutto crisps up a bit.

Peach Ice Cream

Peaches - from the tree to ice cream!

5-6 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced

1 1/2 cups white sugar

juice of 1 large lemon

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp almond extract

2 cups  whipping cream (don’t use 1/2 & 1/2 or milk)

In a large bowl, mix together peaches, sugar lemon juice and the extracts.  Allow to stand for 15 min, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.  Mash with a potato masher. 

Measure out 2 cups mashed peaches.  Reserve the remaining peaches in a small bowl and chill until very cold.

Puree the 2 cups peaches in blender, add heavy cream and pour into a clean bowl – cover and chill until VERY cold.  I do this in the morning, and allow it to sit in the fridge.  If you are in a hurry – put it into the freezer for about 20 minutes, but be sure to stir it occasionally so it doesn’t freeze to the side of the bowl.

Churn the cream/peach mixture according to your manufacturer directions.  During the last few minutes of churning, add the remaining chilled peaches.

Put in airtight container in freezer.  The ice cream is okay to eat now, as a REAL soft serve, but allowing it to set up in the freezer for a few hours improves both the texture and flavour.

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.

All ice cream machines are slightly different – with the peach/cream mixture I determine how much more volume I can add with the peaches during the last few moments of churning time.