If I had to pick one type of summer produce I miss more than any other in the colder months, it’s peaches. I can handle frozen corn in the winter and zucchinis that have been shipped in from warmer states, but there is nothing comparable to a fresh summer peach. I’m making sure to get my fill this year even if that means buying them by the bushel. Or half peck, as was the case a couple weeks ago.
As much as I love them, going through a half a peck of peaches from the farmer’s market was proving to be difficult. After a few days they started to get soft and develop some spots. Eating them fresh wasn’t as appetizing as it had been but I wasn’t about to let them go to waste. Last year, my girls and I experimented with apple butter and it was so delicious on top of everything from toast, to pancakes, and even chicken I thought I’d take the same approach to my peaches.
The peaches get quickly blanched then plunged into ice water so the skins can get removed. Then I remove the pits, blend them up, and add them to a pot with a little brown sugar, salt, and apple cider vinegar. A splash of bourbon at the end adds a rich, smokey flavor to the spread. This recipe makes a small batch, but could easily be doubled or tripled for canning. This would make such a beautiful gift for any peach lover out there.
This peach butter tastes great on just about everything but perhaps the best application for it is slathered on a thick slice of homemade ciabatta bread. Have you ever made homemade bread? I think it’s so much easier than many people have been lead to believe. Yes, working with yeast is scary. And, yes, you will question yourself so many times throughout the process. But I promise if you stick with it, you will be delighted with what you can make.
Fact: I failed hard the first time I tried to make bread with yeast. I tried so hard, guys, but my loaf barely rose, came out super crunchy, and looked like weathered and beaten. Bless Jay’s heart because he ate what he referred to as my ‘rather biblical looking bread.’ Looking back, I did not possess the patience to let the dough rise and allow the water, yeast, and flour do what they do best.
This dough starts the night before with a biga or pre-ferment. This sits out for several hours and gets beautiful and bubbly. This will make the ciabatta light and full of air pockets. I’m using this recipe from The Kitchn which includes detailed instructions on how to mix the biga, make the dough, and bake the loaves.
If you love good bread, please please do yourself a favor and make it at home sometime. All it takes are a few ingredients and a little bit of waiting but the results are absolutely worth the effort. I’ve never witnessed the miracle of childbirth or held a brand new newborn in my arms, but pulling a piping hot loaf of ciabatta bread out of the oven has to be the next best thing.
I made my biga in the morning, cooked my loaves after work, and enjoyed ciabatta toast smeared with the richest peach butter the next day. Oh, so good. For obvious reasons, ciabatta is a favorite in our household. Have a favorite kind of bread? Tell me about it in the comments below!
Bourbon Peach Butter
- 5 Medium Peaches
- 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/4 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Bourbon
Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a simmer. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water. Gently lower your peaches in the water and blanch for 2-3 minutes. Remove and place immediately into the ice water. Allow to sit for 2-3 more minutes then gently remove the skins by rubbing your hands along the outside. The skin should peel off easily. Halve the peaches and remove the pits. Place the peaches into a blender and pulse until the peaches reach your desired smoothness. You can also place your peaches into a pot and use an immersion blender. Place a medium pot over medium-high heat and add your blended peaches to the pot. Add the brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and salt. Bring to a simmer then turn down to low and allow the mixture to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until the mixture reaches desired thickness. Remove the pot from the heat and add the bourbon. Allow to cool before slathering on bread or crackers.
Head over the The Kitchn to see the recipe I follow for perfect ciabatta loaves.