Brandied Peaches

Summary: This is a scrumptious treat that was highlighted in the Recipe Redux column that Amanda Hesser used to write for the NYTimes Magazine. I've made this recipe countless times, and it always receives rave reviews! Serve with vanilla ice cream for an easy, wow dessert.
I've changed things up just a bit; for example, I always have too much leftover simple syrup so have reduced the quantities for that. And I've changed the method of waterbath canning so that the water is at a boil when you put your filled jars in.
NOTE: This recipe is easiest when the peaches have gone from cling to freestone. Otherwise, you have to pare the peach away from the pit which tends to shred them a bit. They'll still taste great but it's a lot more work and not quite as pretty.

Yield: 2-3 pints

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds ripe peaches
  • 2½ c sugar
  • ~1/2 c brandy or Cognac

Instructions:

Fill your canning pot with water, cover, and set over high heat. Do this first because it takes a long time to bring this much water to a rolling boil. Ready three pint-sized canning jars and get out your canning funnel, ladle and such.

Bring a separate large pot of water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside. Using the tip of a paring knife, make a shallow “X” in the bottom of each peach. Add the peaches to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peaches to a large bowl of ice water. Immerse then, and then one by one, peel off the skins, pit the fruit and quarter (or cut into eighths) the flesh.

In another large pot, combine 2½ cups water and the sugar and bring to a boil. Add the peaches and simmer until just soft.

Have the jars and lids sterilized and ready. Gently pack the peaches into the jars.

Boil the leftover syrup until it thickens slightly, then spoon it over the fruit, filling the jars ¾ full. Use a butter knife to release any air bubbles caught in the jars. Pour in enough brandy to fill the jars, leaving ¼ inch of headroom. Wipe the rims, cover with the lids and screw on the bands fingertip-tight. Carefully lower each jar into your boiling water bath, lower the temp so that you maintain a soft rather than rolling boil, and process for 20 minutes. Check the seals and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Refrigerate after opening.

Double, triple this…you’ll want more than you think! And save the leftover peach simple syrup: it’s great in iced tea or over ice cream.