A Peachy Keen Mess
It’s summer in Ontario. This is a huge deal.
It’s hot. There’s sun. There’s no snow! I don’t have to wear socks for at least three months. I ride my bike everywhere. And there’s the summer harvest: strawberries, peaches, cherries, corn, tomatoes, plums, apricots, all grown in and around the Niagara region, just around the corner from Toronto. I gorge on all this local bounty because I know when the weather turns cold I’m back to going completely without (I’d rather eat dust than an out of season peach) or settling for a pallid imitation of summer staples (like tomatoes and strawberries).
A few posts ago, I wrote about an Eton Mess made with in season Ontario strawberries. As I was writing that post I had an idea that once those Ontario strawberries were done for the year (sob!), I’d swap them for Ontario peaches. Well, it’s Peach Season! Peach Season is a proper noun. It’s a place and you need to go there. Buy peaches by the basket, bring them home, smell them in your kitchen as they finish ripening. Eat peaches over the kitchen sink, trying not to get the juices to dribble down the front of your shirt. If you’re up for a bit of effort, make peach pie or peach ice cream or white sangria with peaches or peach cobbler. Or you could make this peachy keen Eton Mess. It’s a bit more work than just gobbling up juicy peaches over the kitchen sink but it’s worth it.
Eton Mess with Peaches and Raspberries
For the full recipe on Eton Mess go here. Follow the recipe exactly, except for where the recipe calls for 1 cup chopped strawberries substitute that for two whole diced peaches. This will yield a bit more than 1 cup but hey, it’s Peach Season!
To get the skin off of a peach and the flesh off the pit, here’s what you do. First of all, your peaches need to be freestone peaches as opposed to clingstone peaches. The words mean exactly what they look and sound like. Freestone means the stone (or pit) will pull away from the flesh easily. Clingstone means the flesh will cling to the pit and it will be a total messy pain to separate the two. How do you know if peaches are clingstone or freestone? I’ve asked at the greengrocers where I buy and they don’t usually know. I just ‘guess’ hoping that they’re what I want and I’ve been lucky for the most part, hitting jackpot with freestone peaches. If you have any tips on how to judge, let me know!
Get a pot of water to boil with enough water for your peaches to be fully submerged. Cut a thin, shallow X on the bottom of each peach (just a quick slash to get through the skin) and plop them gently into the boiling water. After about a minute or two, pluck them out using a strainer (don’t use tongs!) and put them into a bowl of water and ice. This cold bath will stop the cooking process and cool them down so you can peel the skin off. The skin will come off easily, pulling away from the peach where you cut the X. To get the flesh off the stone, cut all the way around the peach and then twist your knife so that the peach divides in half. Using your knife tip, pop out the stone. All that’s left to do then, is to dice up the peach flesh itself.