Saturday, May 26, 2007

Verjus Sorbet with Poached Peaches

Once I found Verjus, this dessert was soooo easy and refreshing, especially on this 80-degree day. You know, it's odd. I see Verjus everywhere as an ingredient in items on restaurant menus, but it was hard as heck to find in the shops. I called at least ten places, and out of ten only two even knew what Verjus was (shame on you Balducci's). Thanks to all of you who emailed (and those who posted on Don Rockwell), I was able to find it through a vendor on Amazon's marketplace.

Here's the Verjus:

It's a bit of a challenge for me to describe what Verjus tastes like. It comes from the juice of unripe grapes, so it has a bit of a green taste (if that makes sense; I mean, obviously "ver" comes from "vert" which is French for "green" but it also tasted green/unripe); it's also partly acidic, but I also got a wee bit of earthiness/freshly tilled meadow, which was nice when the sorbet had fully frozen. It complemented the peaches really nicely, despite the fact that you must be thinking, "um, ew, she said it tastes like a farm."

The first step was combining the Verjus and corn syrup and chilling that mixture in the refrigerator for about an hour. I then poured it into the ice cream maker and let it do its magic for about 30 minutes:

Once it had frozen, I put it in a container and stuck it in the freezer while I prepped the peaches:

Next, I peeled the skins off the peaches. The cookbook says to use two peaches and perform a bunch of magic slicing wizardry, but I wanted to simplify this a bit and just serve a peach half to each person with the sorbet on top. Little more substantive, and I didn't want my friends to go on strike, carrying a bunch of "CAROL IS STINGY WITH PEACHES" signs up and down the street in front of my house. That would certainly bring real estate values down, for sure, not to mention make me look like a bad American in my peach stinginess. But I digress.... (shocker)

After peeling the peaches, I put about a cup of poaching liquid and some honey into a sautée pan, brought it to a simmer, then added the peaches:

They got themselves all poached in an hour or so, so I removed them from the pan and then reduced the remaining liquid to a syrup:

I let both the syrup and the peaches separately cool to room temperature, then stored them in the fridge until I was ready to serve the dessert. Here's a look at the final plating:

The final result was much better than expected. I love peaches, but I wasn't really sure I'd like the sorbet. The two tastes worked well together, and despite the fact that I gave myself a brain freeze while eating it, I really enjoyed it. The peaches were a really nice texture -- not mushy; not firm -- and the sorbet had a nice consistency, as well. It tasted even more intense and tangy having been in the freezer for a day, but I didn't mind the tartness at all because the peaches were nice and sweet. I'm glad I used wildflower honey, which is not as sweet (to me) as clover honey, and added a different kind of aroma and taste to the poached peaches. I don't think any other fruit would taste as good as the peaches with the Verjus sorbet, though, so since peaches are in season right now, this was perfect. If you've already got the French Laundry Cookbook, I say order the Verjus and make this soon while you can still get nice peaches at the market. It really is nice.

Up Next: Salad du Printemps -- Rhubarb Confit with Navel Oranges, Candied Fennel, and Mascarpone Sorbet (I'm going to have to step down from my executive position with the Rhubarb Makes Me Gag club if this is good)

Brands Used:
Verjus de Perigord; Landat et Fils Domaine du Siorac
Peaches and lemon from Glut food co-op
Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc (2004) for poaching liquid
Karo corn syrup
Domino sugar
McClure's wildflower honey
All-Clad cookware

Music to Cook By: Doris Day; Various. One of my favorite summer shows is "So You Think You Can Dance" (shut UP), and one of the Latin dancers auditioned to "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps," so I'm on a Doris Day kick this weekend. Go ahead and make fun of me -- I dare you.


Chris said...

If you're a fan of Cake (the band), try their version of "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps."

Zarah Maria said...

OK, I'm loving the dessert here (and the entire blog, for that matter) I adore The French Laundry Cookbook, though I haven't tried more than one or to items from it, I love the way you write all of this up - but really, really, I had to de-lurk because OMG. You watch So You Think You Can Dance! Now I love you and your blog even more!!;-)

Anonymous said...

You know that you could've poached those peaches in the slow cooker in only 6 hours, right?

lucette said...

This sounds interesting, although our (Ohio) peach season isn't for several months yet.
No mockery of Doris here: I love her light, crispy, flexible voice, although I like Rosemary Clooney even more.

pdxblogmommy said...

I think this dish sounds delightful and I kinda like the idea of the sweetness of the poached peach with the tart cold taste of the Verjus sorbet.

The upcoming salad sounds delish too. Wish I were there to try some.

And did you know that the brilliant British comedy "Coupling" used a (somewhat horrible) version of "Perhaps" as the theme music to their show? I suspect Doris and Rosemary are way easier on the ears however...

M said...

I made this recipe as well, except without an ice cream maker, and I found it to be quite good anyway. I LOVE the French Laundry Cookbook, although, sadly, being a vegetarian, I have to skip/modify many of the recipes.

Anyway, just wanted to say I love your presentation of the dishes (I'm horrible in that aspect of cooking) and that I love this cookbook as well, and as a former MD resident (lived very near to T.P in downtown Silver Spring not too long ago actually) and fellow blogger, I just wanted to say "hey."

p.s. check out my post on the F.L cookbook:

Denise said...

Is there another use for the Verjus besides this sorbet? I mean, would you drink it? Or cook something else with it?

(Adore your blog BTW. :-) )

Cindy said...

One of our favorite movies is Strictly Ballroom - and I didn't know it, but my fave song in that movie was sung by Doris Day (Perhaps perhaps perhaps).

I swear, you have the cleanest freezer I have ever seen, outside of the ones at Sears. :)