Create scrumptious treats while fresh peaches are in abundance

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By Ann Cipperly

While fresh peaches are wonderful for a snack and in salads, they become sublime when baked in cobblers, pies, muffins, breads or cakes. Fragrant, juicy fresh peaches also enhance the flavor of iced tea and can be used to make a refreshing Peach Fizz with ginger ale.

Martha Hill’s mother, Vida Jackson, made a delicious Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler. When Martha had children, she prepared it for them during the summer months. She remembers her mother found the recipe in a cookbook from Tennessee that was given to her by a cousin.

Margo Herndon’s mother made a Peach Crunch using Bisquick in the topping mixture. Butter was poured over the top before baking to provide a rich, buttery flavor. The dessert was served topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping.

During July my mother would have baskets of peaches and other fruit in the kitchen for making jams and jellies. She was always so busy in the kitchen. I rarely saw her sitting down, and if she was sitting, she was shelling peas and beans.

Mom would make different kinds of preserves, including peach, but in later years she only made pear preserves with large chunks of the fruit.  She had a good-sized pear tree, which produced a generous crop. Mom made those fabulous preserves up until just a few years before she passed away.

Last week we drove through north Georgia where there were miles of peach trees. We stopped at Lane’s, a produce market with a bakery and snack bar. While the market was filled with assorted fresh fruit and vegetables, peaches were the main crop.

I don’t think I have seen so many peaches and peach desserts, including peach breads, preserves and pies. At the snack bar, there was a long line for peach or blackberry cobbler.

While Georgia is called the Peach State, the popular fruit has a long history. The Chinese were thought to have domesticated the peach before it spread to Western Europe. Some believe the tree was brought to the New World by the Spaniards.
Cherokee Indians grew peaches in the 18th century. After the Civil War, Georgia farmers were looking for alternatives to cotton. Peaches were so successful that in the following decades Georgia earned the nickname “the Peach State.”
In Alabama, some believe Hernando DeSoto, who traveled down the Coosa River in the 1500s, was responsible for bringing peaches to Chilton County. Many varieties of peaches have been developed.
Peaches are the third most popular fruit, behind apples and oranges.
Look over the following recipes, and create a special treat for your family this week while fresh peaches are in abundance and at their peak flavor.

Ann Cipperly can be contacted at recipes@cipperly.com.

Recipes:

Ouida’s Fresh Peach Pie with Meringue Topping
Peggy Dyar
2 cups fresh, chopped peaches
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 Tbsp. flour
4 eggs yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
9-inch pie shell, partially baked
Meringue
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
Cream butter, sugar and flour.  Add egg yolks and mix cream until just blended.  Stir in peaches and vanilla. Pour into partially baked pie shell and bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees.  Check pie after 45 minutes and cover lightly with foil if edges seem to be browning too quickly.
During last 10-15 minutes of baking time, prepare meringue using the reserved 4 egg whites.  Beat egg whites until peaks form, then add ½ cup sugar and beat until stiff and shiny.  Spread meringue over baked pie and return to oven to brown meringue.

Summer Peach Tea
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2-3 sliced fresh peaches
6 cups brewed tea
Fresh peach slices, mint for garnish, optional
Place sugar, water and the peaches into a saucepan and cook until they come to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Crush peaches as you stir to dissolve sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn off the burner, cover, and allow the mixture to rest for about 30 minutes.
Strain syrup to remove the fruit pieces.  Add syrup to the tea and refrigerate. Serve over ice. Garnish with fresh peach slices and mint.

Mother’s Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler
Martha Hill
Filling:
8 or 9 large peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. self-rising flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup melted butter
Cook peaches in water until tender. Mix sugar, flour and salt. Add to cooked peaches and then add melted butter. Blend well with large spoon or whisk.
Pastry for Cobbler
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup self-rising flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. “sweet milk”
Sugar
Blend flour, salt and shortening until it resembles course meal. Add milk. Roll out on floured surface. Cut into strips and place diagonally across cobbler. Form remainder of pastry into small balls and place in openings on top and push into filling until submerged. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
Freezes well unbaked.

Mama’s Peach Crunch
Margo Herndon
8-10 fresh peaches
1 cup Bisquick
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 stick butter or margarine
Cut peaches up and place in bottom of round aluminum pie pan.  Mix Bisquick and sugar together and then mix in beaten egg.  The consistency should be crumbly.  Spread evenly over the peaches, then pour melted butter over the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the top is brown and bubbly.
Can serve with ice cream or Cool Whip.  This freezes well.

Peach Fizz
Jenny Clary
This is a refreshing summertime drink.
1 pint fresh chopped peaches, sweetened
1½ cups cold pineapple juice
1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice
2 cups ice cubes
1 cup cold ginger ale
Place fresh peaches in a blender; add pineapple juice and lime juice. Blend until peaches are broken up.  Add ice and blend to a thick icy consistency. Add ginger ale and blend. Makes 6 cups.

Fresh Peach Trifle
This is always a hit.
1 pound cake, homemade or purchased
6 oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding
2 cups whipping cream, whipped and sweetened with 1/3 to ½ cup sugar or medium-sized whipped topping
Fresh peaches, sweetened, to taste
Prepare vanilla pudding mix as directed on package. Chill until ready to assemble trifle.
In a trifle bowl or large bowl, place a layer of pound cake slices, top with half of the pudding and peaches. Then spread whipped cream over fruit. Repeat layers. Garnish top with additional fresh fruit, if desired. Chill until ready to serve.

Speedy Peach Pie
Heather Cummings
½ cup flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ cup milk
2 cups juicy peaches diced and sweetened to taste
Butter, as needed
Dot bottom of baking dish generously with butter.  Combine all above ingredients except peaches.  Pour mixture into baking dish.  Spread peaches over the top.  Bake 40 minutes at 350°.  Bottom rises to top.  Serve hot or cold with whipped cream or ice cream.

Fresh Peach Ice Cream
Mende Hunter
4 cups peeled, diced fresh peaches (about 8 medium ripe peaches)
1 cup sugar
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 (3.75 oz.) pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla flavoring
4 cups half & half
Combine peaches and sugar and let stand for 1 hour.
Process peach mixture in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.
Stir together evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and vanilla pudding mixture in a large bowl; stir in peach puree, condensed milk, and half and half.
Pour mixture into freezer container of a 4 quart hand turned or electric freezer; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Spoon into an airtight container and freeze until firm.  Stand 1 hour.  Freeze for 30 minutes.

Mom’s Peach Crisp
Amy Grilliot
The topping is much thinner, sweeter and crispier than a cobbler.   Can substitute blueberries, blackberries or any fresh summer fruit!
6 to 7 medium sized peaches (peeled and sliced)
¾ cup sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
5 Tbsp. butter
Vanilla ice cream, optional
Place sliced peaches in a single layer in a greased 9×9 casserole dish.  In a mixing bowl “cut” together sugar, flour and butter until mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle over peaches.  Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until topping is brown and crisp. Serve with ice cream, if desired.

Quick and Easy Fresh Peach Cobbler
1 stick butter
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
4 cups fresh, sweetened peaches
In an 11x9x2 inch pan melt butter. In a medium sized bowl, add milk, sugar and flour; mix thoroughly. Add to melted margarine and stir. Pour fresh or canned peaches (syrup and all) over this mixture but do not stir. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Good served plain, or with ice cream or whipped cream.

Peach Preserves
12 fresh peaches, pitted and chopped
4 1/2 cups white sugar
1 (2 ounce) package dry pectin
Crush 1 cup chopped peaches in the bottom of a large saucepan. Add remaining peaches, and set pan over medium-low heat. Bring to a low boil, and cook for about 20 minutes or until peaches become liquid (my family likes a few bits of peach left).
Pour peaches into a bowl, and then measure 6 cups back into the pan. Add sugar, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Gradually stir in dry pectin, and boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat after 1 minute, and transfer to sterilized jars. Process in hot water bath canner for 10 minutes. Let cool.

Peach Muffins with Crumb Topping
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups peeled, chopped peaches
Crumb Topping:
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 16 muffin cups or line with paper liners.
Beat sugar, vegetable oil and eggs in a bowl of an electric mixer on medium until creamy. Mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Gradually beat flour mixture into egg mixture until batter is just combined; fold in peaches. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
To make crumb topping, mix brown sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon in a bowl until crumbly; sprinkle over each muffin.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Georgia Peach Smoothie
1 large peach, sliced and pitted
1/2 cup of peach yogurt
1/2 cup whole milk
6 ice cubes
Blend peach slices with ice cubes and milk first until slushy texture is formed. Then add yogurt and blend for another minute on low setting.

Fresh Peach Cake
Cake
Bake 1 box butter flavor cake mix into three layers or prepare the Cream Cheese Pound cake and bake in three layers.
Cream Cheese Pound Cake
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
3 sticks butter or margarine, softened
3 cups sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
6 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Beat cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add sugar and continue beating. Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla. Gradually add flour, which has been sifted. Pour batter into three cake pans coated with nonstick spray. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  After 10 minutes remove from pans. Cool.
Filling
11/2 cups sugar
4 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup water
4 cups sliced peaches
Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add water and peaches. Heat and stir until sauce is thickened. Cool.
Topping
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
Beat cream until stiff.
Assemble
Place one cake layer on plate. Spread with half of cooled peaches. Top with another cake layer, and top with remaining peaches.  Add third layer. Cover cake with whipped cream.
If desired, garnish with peach slices and fresh mint.  Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Layered Peach Dessert
First Layer
2½ cups self-rising flour
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
Mix flour and butter together; add pecans. Press into the bottom of a 9 by 12-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool.
Second Layer
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip
Combine ingredients and spread over cooled crust.
Third Layer
4 cups sliced fresh peaches
Spread peaches over second layer; refrigerate.
Fourth Layer
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. flour
4 Tbsp. peach Jell-O
1 cup water
Mix together and cook over medium heat until clear and thick. Cool. Pour over peaches.

Peach Pound Cake
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups chopped fresh peaches
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 10-inch Bundt pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar, shaking out the excess. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in bowl. Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in vanilla and beat well.
Add flour mixture gradually, beating constantly until blended. Fold peaches into the batter. Spoon into prepared pan. Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack to cool.

Balsamic Peach Salad
1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
Pinch of cayenne
2 large ripe peaches, cut into 1-inch chunks
6 cups bitter greens such as baby arugula or field greens.
Combine dressing ingredients in a mixing bowl, and whisk to combine.
Add peach chunks and toss to coat.  Let sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
Divide greens between 4 chilled salad plates.
Serve immediately.

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