summer recipes: cherry shrub and peach granita
Nothing makes us shout "ahoy, summer!" more than some refreshing, fruity treats.
If you find yourself with an excess of cherries and peaches in the near future, these two recipes from Vivian Lui's book Eat California might help you put them to good use. In case you're wondering what exactly a shrub is, in the food and drink world it refers to a fancy syrup made from fruit, sugar and vinegar (it is not, as we initially thought, a woody plant). Use it like you would a cordial, or mix it up with some tipples and Bob's your uncle!
TIME 10 mins + 3–5 days to steep
450g cherries, pitted, plus extra to garnish
5 sage sprigs
240ml apple cider
220g granulated or raw sugar
5 whole black peppercorns
Pinch of sea salt flakes
Sparkling water, to serve
1. Place the cherries and sage in a large jar.
2. Combine the vinegar, sugar, peppercorns and salt in a small saucepan and heat over medium–low heat for 2 minutes, whisking until the sugar has just dissolved.
3. Pour the vinegar mixture over the fruit and mash slightly with a wooden spoon. Leave to cool completely, then place the lid on the jar. Shake a few times to distribute the flavour. Chill in the fridge for 3–5 days to let the flavours infuse.
4. Strain and serve 3 tablespoons shrub over ice. Top up with sparkling water, stir and garnish with more cherries. The strained shrub keeps for 1 month in the fridge.PEACH SHISO GRANITA
TIME 10 mins to prep and cook, 6 hours to cool and freeze
55g granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
8 shiso leaves
450g white and yellow peaches, stoned and chopped
1. Bring the sugar, salt and 240ml water to a simmer in a small saucepan. Stir until completely dissolved, then remove from the heat. Fully submerge the shiso leaves and steep for 2 hours, or until completely cooled. Remove the leaves from the syrup.
2. Purée the peaches and the syrup in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a freezer-proof container, such as a 20 x 20cm pan and freeze for 4 hours, or until completely frozen. Scrape well with a fork before serving into chilled glasses.
Note: Other fruit options include grapes, cherimoya (custard apple), persimmons and watermelon.
These recipes are extracted from Eat California by Vivian Lui, published by Smith Street Books, RRP $49.99.
Photography © Con Poulos, Food stylist © Vivian Lui