Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Writing in The Flavor Thesaurus, Niki Segnit observes that, "As a society lady at the turn of the twentieth century, you were nobody until you'd had a peach-based dessert named after you." She cites Sarah Bernhardt's peches aiglon, singer Blanche d'Antigny's coupe d'Antigny, and the peaches-and-kirsch concoction known as "Princess Alexandra".
Around the same time but a world away, the women who settled the Pacific Northwest were also intent on peaches and posterity, making summer's bounty last a little longer with the help of peach pickles. Jacqueline B. Williams includes one 19th century recipe in The Way We Ate: Pacific Northwest Cooking, 1843-1900; since it called for nine pounds of peaches and some spices that I don't keep in the pantry, I made a few adjustments.
-Wash and dry 1 1/2 lbs of ripe but firm peaches; halve them and remove the pits.
-Combine 1/2 lb sugar, 1/2c white vinegar, 2 sticks cinnamon, 12 cloves, and 1 Tbs cardamom seeds; bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and reduce the liquid to a syrup.
-Remove the syrup from the heat and gently add the fruit, stirring to coat.
-Follow your usual canning procedure or pack the cooled fruit and syrup in a jar and store in the fridge.
-Eat as-is or with vanilla ice cream, and use the delicious syrup as a dessert topping or drink flavoring.