peach butter troubleshoot
OK, so I have just over a gallon of peach puree, which I made by cooking peeled, cut up peaches in their own juices (and a light sprinkling of sugar to get things going), then blitzing with a stick blender. At which point, I was all sticky and grouchy and put it in the fridge and went to bed.
So, whay now? My peach puree is sitting in the fridge, waiting for me. I experimented simmering it in a wide, open pan, but having my heat on high enough to actually cook the thing only made it splutter all over my stove. How do I brown and intensify the mixture without burning it, or losing its beautiful, fresh flavour? And if it is tart-sweet now, should I add more sugar, or plan on it getting sweeter the more it cooks?
Any advice would be appreciated before I work on it tomorrow...
How stiff is it? If the texture is what you like, don't bother doing anything further. If it's too runny, put it into a saucepan, fairly deep because it will sputter. Put it over low heat with a spatter shield on top - this is a metal mesh shield which allows evaporation but keeps the mess to a minimum. Stir regularly because it will stick and burn. Cook down to a consistency that you like. I prefer my fruit butters fairly tart so I don't add a lot of sugar. I find as it reduces, it becomes more fruity but not a whole lot more sweet.
I made peach jam once years ago and decided upon tasting it that it was no way to do justice to the incredible flavor of fresh peaches. Maybe just jar it up now as "sauce" to use over ice cream, pancakes, etc? Use it as a flavoring agent to enhance other products like cheesecake, ice cream....
Thanks for all the responses, everyone! My puree is too liquid at the moment, and in my mind I'm sort of envisioning something with a slightly caramelized flavour. Although,as you all point out, this probably means sacrificing the fresh peach flavour.
Could I can peach puree as I was going to do the peach butter? Then I could do half and half, and get the best of both worlds.
As for the microwave - Did this only thicken it, or did it also caramelize it a bit? I feel torn, between wanting it to taste fresh, and wanting it to taste rich and deep.
You've all given me lots to think about...
I made peach butter last week & when I reached the stage you're at, I poured the purée into a wide clear-plastic tray, covered it with mesh, and set it out in the sun for three days (covering it at night to prevent the introduction of dew). This evaporated off the moisture very gently without destroying the flavor. After three days, I gave it a brief (careful) boil to thicken it a bit more and to sterilize it.
If you choose to go stove-top all the way, you will have to sacrifice the beautiful fresh flavor. Adding a bit of lemon juice will preserve the tartness.
By the way, I didn't peel my peaches before cooking, and puréed the peel right in with the rest of the fruit. Lovely color and – I think – better flavor.