Just peachy: Try your hand at a variety of desserts

August 5, 2013 

By Suzanne Boyle News-Democrat

The sun has been shining on peach lovers this summer. The right combination of weather and temperatures has provided metro-east residents with an abundance of peaches.

Whether you want pie, cake, cobbler or just solo grilled peaches, you'll find a recipe here.

And, since most of these recipes involve adding ice cream to the top, make sure you make or buy a premium vanilla ice cream to go with your homemade peach treat. (Praline or pecan ice cream would work well, too.)

Grilled Peaches with Ice Cream

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Few drops vanilla extract

Pinch salt

4 ripe peaches, washed, halved, pits removed

Vanilla ice cream

1. Preheat a barbecue or indoor grill to medium.

2. Mix the brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, and salt in a small bowl until well incorporated.

3. Lay the peaches skin-side up on the grill. Grill over direct heat until they begin to soften, approximately 6-10 minutes, depending on the size of the peach. Do not close the grill lid.

4. Flip the peaches, so the skin side is now down. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over each peach. Continue grilling for an additional 6-10 minutes. When the juice begins to bubble around the edges of the skin, the peaches are done.

5. Place the peaches in serving bowls and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Tip: Peaches are a natural for the grill because high, intense heat brings out the juiciness of the fruit while intensifying its sweetness. Use skewers or a grill pan to prevent fruit from falling through your grill grates. If you choose skewers, use two, to keep fruit from spinning off the ends. Always soak wooden skewers for 15-20 minutes to prevent them from burning.

QVC's David Venerable

A cobbler is a dessert consisting of sugared (and often spiced) fruit topped with a sweetened biscuit topping and baked until the fruit is tender and the topping is golden. The bottom part of the topping sinks into the fruit and sops up its flavorful juices, acquiring a dumpling-like texture; the top part gets brown and firm; the middle part arranges itself into a light, spongy crumb. Meanwhile, the rest of the fruit's juices mingle with the sugar and whatever thickener you've added to it (usually cornstarch or flour) to form a hot, sticky syrup that is best appreciated when juxtaposed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cobbler is, in short, a tremendous dish.

In this recipe, a 9-inch square pan means exactly that. If you use an 8-inch square pan, you'll likely end up with peach syrup gushing over the sides and onto the bottom of your oven (unless you put a baking sheet underneath it).

Peach Cobbler

3 pounds fresh peaches, sliced, or 2 pounds frozen sliced peaches

Juice of 2 lemons

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

2/3 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Vanilla ice cream for serving

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Put peaches, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl; toss to combine.

Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch square pan and bake 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine flour, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.

Add butter and blend with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add buttermilk and almond extract and stir just until combined.

3. Remove pan from the oven and drop the batter in large, evenly spaced dollops on top of the peaches.

Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over the batter. Continue baking until the topping is golden brown and the peaches are tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Yield: 9 to 12 servings.

Food writer L.V. Anderson, Slate

PEACH-BLUEBERRY COBBLER WITH ALMOND MERINGUE TOPPING

TOPPING:

2 large egg whites

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup sliced almonds

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch salt

FILLING:

1 (16-ounce) bag frozen peaches (or equivalent fresh, peeled and sliced peaches)

1 (12-ounce) bag frozen blueberries

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons potato or cornstarch

1. Make topping: Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium until frothy, about 30 seconds. Turn speed to high and pour sugar into bowl in a slow, steady stream. Continue to beat until egg whites are stiff and shiny.

Fold in almonds, vanilla and salt, being careful not to deflate meringue.

2. Spread meringue into a 7-inch square on prepared baking sheet and bake until firm and beginning to color, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet.

3. Make filling: Turn oven up to 375 degrees. Combine peaches, blueberries, sugar and starch in a large bowl and let stand, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Scrape into an 8-inch-square baking pan, cover pan with foil and bake until fruit is hot and bubbling and has released its juices, 30 to 35 minutes.

4. Remove pan from oven, remove foil and gently stir fruit. Crumble meringue topping over fruit, return to oven and bake until topping is browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Lauren Chattman of Newsday

Peach Pound Cake

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups white sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups fresh peaches, pitted and chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube pan and coat with white sugar. (This makes a crispy-ish crust on the pound cake.)

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla.

Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl, saving 1/4 cup of flour for later. Gradually stir dry ingredients into creamed mixture.

Use reserved flour to toss with the chopped peaches, and then gently fold them into the batter. Spread evenly into prepared pan.

Bake 60 to 70 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

thedoughwillriseagain.com

As with other pie recipes, if you don't want to make your own crust, feel free to substitute the store-bought kind you roll out.

Peach Hand Pies

Crust:

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, diced and frozen

3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

FILLING:

3 to 4 medium peaches

Zest of 1/2 a lemon

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 egg

Coarse sugar

For the crust: In a large bowl or the bowl of a food processor, mix the flour, sugar and salt together. Cut in the butter until it resembles fine crumbs. Add in the ice water, one tablespoon at a time, and mix until the dough starts to come together.

Divide the dough in half, form each piece in to a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours.

For the filling: Dice (and peel if desired) the peaches in to small chunks. Place them in a bowl with the sugar, and let sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain any liquid that accumulates, and taste a piece of fruit. If more sugar is desired, add to taste, a tablespoon at a time.

Mix the lemon zest and the cornstarch in to the fruit mixture and set aside.

Assembly: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out on a well-floured surface. Use a round cutter to create as many circles as possible.

Fill each with approximately 1 tablespoon filling, then use a moist finger to wet the edges of the crust, fold over and press around the pie with a fork to seal.

Repeat with the remaining dough, rolling out scraps as necessary.

Place the mini pies on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and brush each with a lightly beaten egg, then sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Cut a small hole with a knife near the bend of the pie to release steam while baking.

Bake 16 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool.

Tip: You can use a round cutter of almost any size, as long as there is enough space to put in some filling -- so you can have very little pies and very big ones. You could even use a square cutter and fold your pies into triangles, or cut into squares freestyle if you have a steady hand (and a ruler).

Baking and Mistaking

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