Feral Fruit Filo Pastry
A while ago I noticed some fruit trees growing on the side of various roads around Jamberoo. They looked like peach or nectarine trees, but I couldn’t be sure without seeing the fruit. I kept checking on them every month or so, and early this year saw young fruit that showed they were peach trees.
Once a week or so I took the “scenic route” to work through Jamberoo, to check on the progress of the fruit.
Finally in late February, the fruit was ripening and beginning to fall from the trees. Time to pick some!
The peaches on the trees were mostly still green, but there were riper ones on the ground that had recently fallen. I gathered up a selection and took them home.
None of the fruit was particularly good for eating fresh. I guess since they rely only on rainfall, they hadn’t received enough water at the right times for proper fruit development. I figured they’d still be OK to cook with, though.
The first thing to do with cooking peaches is to get the skins off. You can fiddle around with a knife and try to peel them, but there’s a much easier way. Simply drop the peaches (a couple at a time) into boiling water for 30 seconds, then scoop them out into a bowl of ice water. You can then make a slice into the skin and peel them by hand easily. If the skin is still hard to remove, repeat the blanching process and have another go.
Return the peeled peaches to the ice water until you’re ready to use them and they won’t go brown.
Now cut the peach flesh from the stones. You don’t have to be neat about this – just hack out the stones and throw them in the compost. This is also a good time to remove any bruised or bug-eaten bits.
Put all the peach flesh into a saucepan and add just enough water to cover them. I learned a good tip here from my mother-in-law. To make stewed peaches (where the flesh is all mushed up), add the peach flesh to cold water and bring to the boil. To make peach chunks (like canned peaches, where the flesh holds its shape) boil the water first and then add the peaches.
Stewed peaches are best for making pies, pastries and desserts, so that’s what I went for.
Add some sugar to the peaches as the water heats up. You’ll need to use your judgement here – if the peaches were fairly green and firm, add more sugar. If they were sweet and ripe, you won’t need very much. Boil for 15 minutes or so, until they have the consistency you want.
Lay out some sheets of frozen filo pastry to thaw. Cut across them diagonally to make two triangles from each sheet. Spoon some peach mixture onto one half of each triangle, lightly moisten the edges of the pastry with peach juice, then fold over and seal the edges. I like to press a fork around the edge to both seal it and give a decorative touch.
If you want smaller pastries, just cut the filo sheets into smaller triangles. I like the big chunky ones.
Put the pastries on a tray, and place into a preheated oven. Check the filo pastry packet for the correct temperature – I think it was 180 degrees C or so. Cook until the pastry puffs up and goes a nice golden brown colour, then remove.
I know it would have been good at this point to set up a pretty photo of a peach filo in a nice bowl, with a scoop of ice-cream on top. Unfortunately they didn’t last long enough for photos! Yum!