I know the dark days are over when I can pick fresh mint from my garden to garnish the ice cream made from the last jar of vanilla peaches in the pantry. So, for the last course, I thought I’d offer one of the quickest and most clever uses of my pantry stock.
Jewel-like jars of lightly poached summer fruit – peaches and pears in a vanilla-infused simple syrup or slightly spiced cherries in red port wine – make a near instant dessert throughout the dark days of winter. Obviously, the fruit can be spooned on top of a rustic cake or a bowl of vanilla ice cream. However, to satisfy the cravings of a certain other member of our household, I like to turn it into sorbet or ice cream.
A quart of peaches can simply be blitzed in the blender, chilled and processed as sorbet in an ice cream maker. Smaller quantities –12 oz or pint jars – are pureed with 1 cup of local heavy cream (or a 14 oz can of coconut milk for the non-dairy types who crave cream). The actual work time, including cleanup, is under five minutes. You need to allow time for the mixture to be thoroughly chilled and for it to process and then harden but that’s not hard to work into a schedule.