02 January 2008

Peach and Prosecco Ice

Ghiaccio di Pesca e Prosecco
Peach and Prosecco Ice (with title)
Happy New Year to all! A few years ago, I wrote a short essay about new year predictions that I unfortunately lost when my computer got destroyed. In a nutshell, I expressed my dismay over so-called seers that predicted the following year (must have been 2001 or 2002) would be a difficult one for most, and suicide would be at an all-time high. It seems that five years is not enough for people to learn their lesson: a hot topic on the news shows just before the year ends is the new crop of predictions. Those born on the year of the Rat will somehow gain a lot of charisma, but beware as you will become more prone to cheating on your partner. I wasn't giving my 100% attention, but that's just an example of the crap we might accidentally listen to. I'm sorry, but we're not going to be able to help being unkind to one another. Give in to your destiny! Do your friend a favor and fulfill his by pushing him over the ledge. Spiritual poison, is what it is.
Two Hams
Two hams I prepared on new year-- one is glaxed with pineapple and brown sugar, the other with Hoisin sauce and Sichuan peppercorns.
I realize that the line "we'll take a cup o' kindness yet for auld lang syne" refers to drinking beer with old friends and really has little to do with kindness. But I do hope that people take to heart an alternate meaning-- I hope people will resolve to be good to themselves and to one another this year. Don't mind if you don't get your due or if people can be unkind to you-- it's a slippery slope to succumbing to your "fate."

Okay, back to business. People think that I don't drink, and that's true to some extent. I'm quite a lightweight (not that my limits have ever been tried or I've ever vomited/ acted foolishly due to alcohol). I choose very carefully the instances in which I'm going to drink anything at all, and only if the spirit of my choosing is available. It's really frustrating when friends get all patronizing and tell me, "Oh, it tastes good. Trust me. You won't feel a thing. Blah blah blah." I know what it tastes like, thank you very much. I did go through high school. Somehow it's hard to believe that anyone would make a choice not to drink especially being male at my age, but that's how I roll. Sparkling white wine and new year's eve is another matter, though. And when you serve it with a small scoop of this peach and prosecco ice, it just gently melts into the chilly wine, giving a mellow peach taste that ends with a nice icy slush of peach with an elegant kick.

I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit magazine (May 2005). It's inspired by the Bellini (peach nectar and Prosecco, made famous at Harry's Bar in Venice). It's also great in between courses, apparently. Or just on its own as a dessert.

Peach and Prosecco Ice
There are two elements in this ice that inhibits crystallization: the alcohol content and the sugar content. Allow two days for it to firm, so it stays pleasantly spherical. Also, make sure your white wine used for topping is well-chilled, or it won't be pretty.

  • 1 1-lb (450g) bag of frozen peaches, thawed and juices preserved, OR 1 29-oz (830g) can of peaches in heavy syrup, drained and syrup reserved

  • 1 cup (240mL) chilled Prosecco or other sparkling white wine

  • 1/4 cup (60mL) orange juice

If using thawed frozen peaches:
  • 3/4 cup (75g) sugar

  • 1/2 cup (120mL) hot water

Stir the water and sugar together (if using peaches in heavy syrup, take 3/4 cup or 190g of the syrup instead) and add the orange juice. In a blender or food processor, process the peaches and any reserved juice until smooth, then gradually pour in the sugar syrup with the machine running. Process until smooth. Add the Prosecco and process until just blended. Transfer to a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze.

To serve the way illustrated above, place a scoop in a flute and top with chilled Prosecco or other sparkling white wine. Serve immediately.

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