Tag Archives: peach

Sweet Taste of Homesickness

Boy, have I been homesick lately.  I know that Texas is in the midst of a horrible drought and suffering from record-breaking heat, but I still miss it.  I don’t need you to understand.

I know it is no surprise to any of you who read this blog to hear that I miss the food almost as much as I miss the people and places.  One thing in particular that I miss is my dad’s peach tart.  Made with Hill Country peaches, it is sublime.  You cannot beat butter and freshly picked fruit, right?  It makes the house smell wonderful when it is baking and it is a delicious finish to a summer meal.  And, I know I am loved when Dad sets aside the last piece and lets me have it for breakfast the next day.  It is just as good cold as it is warm.  Sigh.

Here’s how to share some love in your house…I only hope you have enough to save a piece for breakfast.

Peach Tart
Makes two tarts

Modified from Fine Cooking Magazine

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
16 Tbsp very cold unsalted butter
2/3 cup of ice water
approx. 1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix together flour, sugar, and salt.  Cut the cold butter into cubes and drop into flour mixture.  Cut in with knives or pastry cutter until it resembles tiny peas.  Add ice water all at once and mix just until the dough comes together.  Take care not to over mix.

Gather the dough with your hands and shape into two disks and wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Sometimes if the kitchen is really hot or we are in a hurry, Dad and I will cheat a bit and put the dough in the freezer for about 30 minutes.  Be careful, though.  Don’t put the dough in the coldest part of the freezer or it could become tough.  Just so you know, Mom thinks we are taking too great a risk with her dessert and she doesn’t like that we do this.

After the dough has chilled, roll out each disk of dough between two sheets of wax paper to about 1/8-inch thickness.  Take care not to over work the dough and just remove one disk from the refrigerator at a time.  You can place the rolled dough in a tart pan or just lay out on a baking sheet for a free form tart or galette.

If you go with the rustic shape, place the rolled dough on a parchment covered baking sheet.  Put the fruit in the center of the dough round and fold up about 2 inches of the dough all around and pleat slightly to secure.

Slice the peaches and arrange on top of the dough in the tart pan.  Sprinkle with brown sugar.  You may decide to use a little more or a little less.

Regardless of the shape, bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes.  The formal tart needs to cool on a baking rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the tart pan ring.  The galette should cool about 5 minutes, then slide off the baking sheet to cool on a rack.

Serve warm or cold.

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Peach Throw-Down

Last month, several entries on this blog highlighted dishes made with one of my favorite summer fruits, peaches.  This was due, in part, to the generous gift of Georgia peaches from my friends Dave and Laura.  Well, I have even more entries from Peachapoolza to offer you, dear reader.

My friends Dave and Wendy are always going on about New Jersey peaches.  They claim they are the best in the country.  They claim they are even better than Texas peaches.  I finally asked them to prove it.  So, they brought back a peck of freshly picked peaches from their recent trip home.  They bought a mix of both white and yellow cling-free peaches.

We ate several right away, and as the juice ran down my chin I asked Wendy if there was a particular peach recipe she wanted me to make.  At this point Dave chimed in.  You see, I hadn’t directed my question to him because he is allergic to the fruit.  But, I discovered that he can sometimes eat peaches if they have been cooked.  He asked if I could can peaches.  Yes, I said.  Then Dave wanted to know if I could make sugary, syrupy peaches that he could spoon onto ice cream.  Yes, yes I can.

I altered slightly my father’s spiced peach recipe to work better for ice cream or cereal topping.  Delicious.  I still prefer Texas peaches, but I’m willing to admit to just a slight bias for my home state products.

Canned Spiced Peaches
Makes about 4 pints 

about 4 lbs fresh, ripe peaches
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar
4 cinnamon sticks, broken
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp whole cloves

To make it easier to peel the peaches, I blanched them.  Place whole peaches in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes and then drain and rinse with cold water to stop the fruit from cooking and make them cool enough to handle.  The skin should slide right off of ripe peaches.  If it doesn’t you can finish peeling them with a paring knife.

My father cans his peaches whole, but I decided to slice and pit the fruit for this batch.  Set them aside and prepare the syrup.

In a large saucepan, combine sugars, water, vinegar, cinnamon, and cloves.  Bring it to a boil, then stir and turn down heat to a simmer.  Let it simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.  You can take this time to sterilize your jars and lids.

Add the peach slices to the syrup and let them cook for about 5 minutes.  Take it off the heat and spoon the peaches and syrup into your prepared jars.  Make sure the threads of the jars are clean of syrup so you’ll get a good seal then screw on the lids.

I use a water bath process to seal the jars by submerging them in boiling water.  For pint-size jars, I let them stay in the boiling water for about 20 minutes.  Then I lift them out of the water and place them on a towel.  As they cool down, you should hear an occasional pinging noise as the lids pop from a vacuum forming.  After a couple of  hours of cooling, press down on the center of each lid.  There should not be any flex.  If the lid flexes, repeat the process and re-submerge the jars in boiling water for another 20 minutes to reach the vacuum seal.

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Peaches with My Coffee

Peachapalooza continues in my household as I experiment with Georgia peaches.

Next up…peaches for breakfast.

Spiced Peach Bread
Makes 1 9-inch loaf (or 3 mini loaves)

Modified from Southern Living magazine

1 cup pecans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and diced
3/4 cup freshly grated carrots
1/3 cup natural applesauce
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake pecans in a single layer in  shallow pan for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until toasted and fragrant.

Cool 15 minutes and coarsely chop.

Stir together flour and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl.

Add diced peaches.

Stir in remaining ingredients, including toasted pecans, just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Spoon batter into a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out clean.  Cool in pan on wire rack for about 5 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.

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Peaches on the Grill

I’ve really enjoyed the peaches that Dave and Laura brought me from Georgia and I’ve made it a point to make new things that I’ve never tried before.

While I am a little embarrassed to share with you that I modified a recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow, I was pretty sure it was something my husband would enjoy eating.  It was published in the June 2011 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.

Well, he did enjoy this recipe for dinner.  I think your family will, too.

Grilled Chicken with Peach Barbecue Sauce
Serves 4

Modified from Gwyneth Paltrow

2 peaches, peeled, pitted and roughly diced
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo (for extra spice finely dice a chile, too)
salt and pepper, to taste
4 chicken breasts (boneless or bone-in okay – just cook different amount of time on grill)

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small saucepan.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Stir and reduce heat to low.  Simmer until peaches are very soft, maybe 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and let sauce cool.  Pour peach mixture into a blender and puree until smooth.

Place half the sauce in a bowl; add the chicken and turn to coat.  Let it marinate for about 20 minutes or you can cover and put in refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours.  Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce.

Prepare your grill to medium high heat.  You may want to make sure grates are oiled with vegetable oil before starting so chicken won’t stick.  Grill chicken until browned and almost cooked through, for boneless breasts 4 – 5 minutes each side and for bone-in breasts 8 – 10 minutes.

Then, coat with sauce and grill for another 1 or 2 minutes per side.  Serve the chicken warm with remaining sauce on side.

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Bar Stool Fridays – Peachy Keen Wine Cocktail

My friends Dave and Laura just returned from a vacation through the Southeast states.  They very kindly brought me back some luscious Georgia peaches.

I considered peach pie and peach ice cream, but I decided instead to start with a cocktail.

This white wine cocktail with pureed peaches and a hint of ginger is a delicious accompaniment to summer grilling.  Of course, we didn’t save it for the food.  We drank it while we grilled.

Peachy Keen Wine Cocktail
Serves 6 to 8

2 peaches, peeled, pitted, and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup orange liqueur
3 to 4 Tbsp ginger syrup
1 bottle white wine (750 mL)
ice
club soda or seltzer
mint and peach slices, garnish

In a blender or food processor, puree peaches with orange liqueur and ginger syrup.  Pour the peach puree into a pitcher.  Add the bottle of white wine.  Stir gently.

Serve in ice-filled glasses with a splash of club soda.  Garnish with mint and thin slices of peach.

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Guest Post: Remembering the Spiced Peaches of Life

I’m lucky to come from a family of cooks.  I’m also lucky to be supported in my blogging efforts by a large circle of family and friends, including my parents.  Turning the attention to them, I’m thrilled to share another guest post with you.  This post on spiced peaches is from my dad with help from my mom.

Recently while on an extended weekend to the Hill Country of Texas we acquired a 1/4 bushel of peaches in Fredericksburg, Texas.
Since we had more fruit than we could reasonably eat, we decided to put up some Spiced Peaches like my mother and I did when I was growing up.

Spiced Peaches

First, you need to peel the peaches and the easiest way to do this is with a water bath. Fill a large pot around 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil. Slowly and carefully put the peaches in the water until no more peaches can be submerged. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes and then quickly put under cool running water to stop the cooking and cool the fruit so it can be handled. The skins will slide right off the peaches, and you can put the cleaned peaches in a bowl to set aside.
In a large sauce pan, mix the following ingredients and bring to a boil, taking care not to let the pot boil over.
5 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup vinegar
12 sticks cinnamon, broken
2 tsp. whole cloves
Once the syrup is prepared turn to a simmer and prepare the water bath and jars.
Fill hot water bath canner about half full and begin heating.  Check jars for nicks, cracks on sealing surface.  Wash jars in hot soapy water, rinse, let soak in hot water or wash in dishwasher and let them remain in hot dishwasher.  Also wash, rinse, and let lids and rings remain in hot water until ready to use.
When the jars are ready, bring the syrup to a boil and carefully drop the peaches in the syrup.  Heat peaches in syrup about 5 minutes. 
Pack hot fruit in hot, clean jars; add syrup to within 1/2 inch of top of jar (I like to include a piece of cinnamon and some cloves in each jar), wipe any residue on top and threads of jar (residue could prevent a good seal); place hot, clean lids and rings on jars, screw the ring tight but do not force, and place in water bath canner.  When canner is full, add enough hot water to cover jars with 1’’ – 2’’ of water.  Bring water to a boil, reduce to a gentle boil and begin counting processing time.  The processing time for pint jars is is 20 minutes and for quart jars is 30 minutes.
After the appropriate time, remove jars from canner and place on racks to cool. Do not place hot jars in a cool draft since that could cause jars to crack. Do not tighten rings.  After 12 hours and then after 24 hours, check for seal.  Press center of lid, if it is down in the center then it is sealed. Or tap the center of the lid, a clear ringing sound means it is sealed. Do not tighten ring after jar has cooled.
Seven pounds of peaches will yield about 9 pints.
Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book, 1968
Ball Blue Book

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Peachy Keen for Pie

I’ve been feeling a bit homesick lately.  I find that I usually turn to cooking dishes from home to help me through those feelings.  The brisket we smoked this weekend definitely helped, but so did the peach blueberry pie.

July is usually the sweetest month for peaches in the Hill Country of Texas.  If I were back in Texas now, I would have already gone peach picking and made a ridiculous number of peach dishes.  And, I would have made myself sticky with all the sweet peachy juice.  Mmmm.

According to Texas media sources, the area’s favorable fall and winter conditions, paired with no late killing frosts or harsh thunderstorms, have resulted in the best peach crop in years in the Texas Hill Country.  The peaches harvested in the Hill Country are known for truly exceptional taste and quality. The perfect combination of sandy soil, optimal moisture, warm days, and cool nights create a special flavor that folks travel from far and wide to experience.  There is nothing like a fresh-picked Hill Country peach!  I hope you can try one someday, but in the meantime, enjoy the fresh-picked peaches in your area.

Peach Blueberry Pie
Makes one 9 1/2 inch deep dish, double-crust pie

For crust:
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup Crisco
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup ice water
I cube the butter right out of the refrigerator and place in a bowl with Crisco and flour. I then place this bowl in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes. It is important to keep the ingredients and dough cold.  Then, I use my pastry cutter to blend until it is consistency of pea-sized crumbs.
Drizzle on the ice water and stir with a fork until crumbs are moistened and it is starting to clump together.
Press the dough into a ball and divide into two pieces, one slightly smaller than the other (that will be top pie crust). Flatten into disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

For filling:
4 cups of fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup cornstarch

Mix peaches and blueberries with sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch.  Taste.  You may want to add more sugar, if it is too tart for you.  I usually err on the side of less sugar so as to allow the fresh fruit taste to come through.  Plus, I usually serve pie with ice cream that adds some sweet. You may also want to add more cornstarch if your peaches are particularly juicy.  Let it sit while you make the crust and you can judge before putting it in the crust.

When ready to create your pie, roll out the larger circle of dough on a floured surface until it is about 1/8 inch in thickness and around 13 inches in diameter.  This is the bottom pie crust for your 9 1/2 inch deep dish pie pan.

Pour the fruit filling into the crust.  Roll out the second round of pie dough now.  You can roll it into a circle a little smaller in diameter that the last one to cover the pie completely.  Or, you can roll it out into a rectangle and cut strips to weave into a lattice.  Or, you can roll it out into a rough shape and use cookie cutters to cut shapes and lay on top of the fruit.  Be creative.  This time I rolled the dough into a circle about 11 inches in diameter and used two sized star-shaped cookie cutters to cut designs into it.  Then, lay it on top of the filling and seal edges.

Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/4 hours until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown.

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