Peach sorbet

This lovely sorbet is an out-take from the book I co wrote with Jose Pizarro ‘Seasonal Spanish Food’. It made way for a couple of cherry recipes, which I thought a bit of a shame – I liked the ‘Chicky and his mule’ introduction. Pizarro tends to attribute most of his inspiration to his beloved Mum, and I was delighted to elicit from him this small snapshot of life in the Spanish campo. And since peaches are coming into season, I thought it would be a good moment to post it:

“Chicky is a friend of my dad’s. And like Dad, his vegetable garden is a 30-minute gentle stroll away from our village. Both Chicky and his mule are getting on a bit, but the two of them enjoy the daily amble from his garden, the panniers creaking with freshly picked produce. In late June his peaches are ready: they are quite small in size, but the intense perfume and taste more than makes up for this. If I am home at this time of year, I will hang around the village square waiting for Chicky to pass by, because there is nothing like sinking your teeth into a perfectly ripe, just-picked fruit. I wanted to try and capture that flavour in this sorbet.”

You need to make sugar syrup for this sorbet, which simply involves dissolving sugar in an equal amount of water. If you like making sorbets, or poaching fruit for example, it’s worth doubling (or more) the quantities given here so you have some to spare. Once decanted into a suitable lidded container, the syrup will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks – as long as it remains clear it is okay. The instant the syrup turns cloudy, throw it away.

Only attempt this sorbet if you are certain you’ve got sweet, best quality fruit.

Serves 6 to 8

sugar syrup

1 vanilla pod (optional)
125ml boiling water
125g caster sugar


500g peach flesh, stones and skin removed
2 tablespoons peach eau de vie
juice of 1/2 lemon
200ml sugar syrup

First make the sugar syrup. If using a vanilla pod, pop it into a measuring bowl or jug, and pour in 125ml boiling water. Pour in the sugar and stir until it has dissolved completely. Cool the syrup before putting it into the fridge to chill until needed.

Use a food processor to blitz the peaches, eau de vie and lemon juice to a purée, then sieve it with a wooden spoon to make sure it is completely smooth. Stir in the syrup. Add more lemon juice if you think the flavour needs to be lifted a bit.

If you have an ice-cream maker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If not, put the mixture into a glass bowl, cover, and pop it in the freezer. Stop crystals from forming by using a fork to mash up the sorbet every 15 minutes until it has frozen (a good two hours).