Summer is here and days are longer, temperatures are rising. Around Memorial Day our Dry Creek peach season begins, and we raise a toast and celebrate the wonders and bounty of the season. And if you’ve tasted a peach, you’ve tasted summer.
We have a ritual here at the farm and it hails from Harry’s Bar in Italy. It’s the bellini. Our friend Circe Sher from the Hotel Healdsburg gave us the idea after returning from a trip to Venice. Traditionally, a bellini is made from white peaches, in order to achieve a beautiful pink blush color. We grow 30 varieties of peaches, and 10 or so are of the white variety, and a few of those are just perfect for bellinis. The peaches have a red exterior, deep red color around the pit, a bit higher water content, less acid and exquisite flavor.
A bellini is a cocktail mixing (traditionally) white peach puree with Prosecco. It is light, refreshing and stunning. You can make a Bellini using other fruit, too; mix fruit puree with a light sparkling wine. And if you do not want alcohol, why not substitute seltzer or even ginger ale? It is a wonderful way to celebrate and toast a special person, event or happening. It is also just a delicious drink.
I have experimented with many bellinis and bellini recipes—tough job I know—and I think I’ve got it down. Here goes:
One and a half pounds ripened organic peaches: wash and pit. Do not peel the skin for it adds to the color and texture of the mix, making it very important to use organic. You also want ripe peaches, not firm, for the sweetness and blendability.
- One-third cup simple syrup: equal parts sugar and water. I heat equal parts sugar and water, until the sugar is dissolved. I then store the syrup in a container in the fridge for later use. It is great to add to lemonade, iced tea or iced coffee.
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice from half a lemon. This helps prevent discoloration of the fruit, and be sure to remove seeds before squeezing.
In a high-speed blender, mix the peaches, simple syrup and lemon juice, so peaches are completely broken down. Once fully blended, put the mixture through a fine sieve; I use a chinois. You want your mix to have texture, but not too much. Freeze puree in a Ziploc until ready to use.
I typically make bellinis by the pitcher, and I use two cups of puree to one bottle of Prosecco. Pour softened puree into the pitcher, then add the nicely chilled Prosecco, and mix it all up. Served in champagne flutes, it will be the hit of the party! Of course you don’t have to make a whole pitcher; you can scoop out the puree by the tablespoon and mix it by the glass.
Nothing quite beats a cool peach bellini on a hot summer day (or really any day). Cheers!
P.S. The bellini is named after the pink glow mastered by 15th century Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini. SD