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Brandied Late Summer Fruit

(recipe, Kelly Myers)

Introduction

Use only fruit that is ripe and sweet.

Ingredients

  1. 6 medium peaches or 20 small Italian prune plums
  2. Juice of 1 lemon
  3. 1 glass canning jar and lid (1-quart size), washed and sterilized in hot water
  4. White sugar
  5. 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise (optional)
  6. 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  7. 2 thick strips of lemon peel (optional)
  8. Brandy, cognac, or armagnac (must be 80-proof alcohol or higher)

Steps

  1. Submerge the peaches in boiling water for 20 to 30 seconds, or until their skins loosen. (If using prune plums, boil for 10 seconds.) Immediately cool fruit in ice water to stop it from cooking. Drain. Gently pull the skins from the fruit with the side of your thumb.
  2. Cut peaches into slices, cutting away any bruised spots. (Cut prune plums in half lengthwise.) Pull out and discard the pits. Sprinkle the fruit with lemon juice as you go to prevent browning. You should end up with about 3 cups of fruit.
  3. Layer fruit in the jar, sprinkling sugar to taste between the layers. Fill the jar up to the neck. Press down on the peaches or plums gently to compress, then add more fruit if possible. Finish with a sprinkling of sugar. Insert the vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, and/or lemon peel if using.
  4. Pour the brandy to within ½ inch of the top of the jar. Check to make sure fruit is completely submerged. Add more brandy if necessary. Screw on the lid and leave the jar out on the counter all day or for several hours. Tip it upside down occasionally to dissolve and distribute the sugar. Refrigerate the fruit for one month.
  5. If desired, replace fruit and brandy as you remove them, adding a little sugar each time. Always make sure the fruit is covered with brandy. In late fall, you can add peeled and cored persimmons and pears; in winter, you can add prunes and dried cherries.

Note

This recipe comes from Kelly Myers' Front Burner column on cooking with summer fruits.