It is a summer when peaches are precious and should be used wisely.
The bad news came in June, when area orchard owners predicted the upcoming peach season would be slim pickings. Blame it on the frigid winter, they said.
So, while you'll find peaches from out of state* in local supermarkets, big orchards like Eckert's in Belleville aren't wholesaling the fruit and will only sell peaches at its Country Store. Pick-your-own isn't happening to prevent wastage.
Still, a check at Eckert's on Thursday revealed a good stock of peaches in the store. I've included the orchard's Peach Salsa recipe here; it's wonderful stuffed inside chicken quesadillas.
A versatile fruit that goes well with sweet and savory dishes, now's the time to make the best use of peaches in dishes that might not be in your recipe box.
*Please avoid buying peaches that do not come from local orchards. Their taste and quality cannot compare to area peaches, which are vine-ripened.
Western Slope Peach Clafouti (Custard)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream or half-half
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 medium peaches, peeled and quartered
1. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate.
In a blender, combine eggs with cream, milk and flour. Add 1/2 cup sugar and blend till smooth.
2. In a medium heavy skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.
Add peaches, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and cook till tender, about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour one quarter of batter into bottom, spoon peaches with remaining liquid into dish, and pour remaining batter on top.
Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top if desired. Set pie plate on a baking sheet and bake 55-60 minutes, or until golden and just set. Transfer to a rack and cool to room temperature before serving. Top with some whipped cream.
3. Make ahead: Can be refrigerated overnight. Gently rewarm in a 300 degree oven before serving.
Highlands Ranch (Colorado) Rotary Club
Peach Upside-Down Cake
3 cups thinly sliced peeled peaches (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 1/4 cups vanilla fat-free frozen yogurt
6 tablespoons fat-free caramel sundae syrup, warmed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Topping: Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Spoon into a 9-inch round cake pan coated with cooking spray.
Batter: Place next 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (for about 5 minutes).
In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stirring well with a whisk.
Add the flour mixture to wet mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition.
Spoon batter over peach mixture in pan. Bake 45 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack.
Place a plate upside down on top of cake, and invert onto plate. Serve warm with frozen yogurt and the caramel syrup.
Cooking Light, August 2001
Peach Bread Pudding
1 tablespoon butter
9 cups dry Hawaiian bread or any sweet-style bread cut into 1-inch cubes*
2 large ripe yellow peaches, sliced
1/2 cup raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling Imperial Sugar Light Brown Sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with the butter and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, peaches and raisins. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, white sugar and salt and toss to combine.
In a medium saucepan, combine milk, cream, butter and brown sugar and heat on low until butter is melted.
Pour milk mixture over bread cubes and gently fold through until well-combined.
In a separate small bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla and add to bread mixture until soaked through.
Pour mixture into prepared dish and spread out evenly.
Sprinkle last 1 tablespoon of brown sugar on top of pudding and place in oven. Bake 45 minutes. or until bread pudding is golden brown on top.
Serve with caramel sauce or whipped cream.
*If the bread is soft, place the cubes on a cookie sheet and bake in an oven for 10 minutes until slightly toasted before using.
Peach Slab Pie
1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Sliced, peeled peaches (Frozen thawed and drained can be used, too)
1/2 roll refrigerated sugar cookies, kept cold
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove pie crusts from pouches.
On lightly floured surface, unroll and stack pie crusts one on top of the other.
Roll to 17-by-12-inch rectangle. Fit crust into ungreased 15-by-10-by-1-inch pan, pressing into corners. Fold extra crust even with edges of pan. Crimp edges.
In large bowl, mix brown sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Stir in peaches to coat. Spoon mixture into crust-lined pan.
Break cookie-dough into coarse crumbs; sprinkle evenly over filling. (Wrap and refrigerate other half of cookie dough for another use.)
Bake 55 to 60 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Cool on rack 45 minutes. Cut and serve
4 cups unpeeled peaches
1/2 cup red onion, small dice
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced small
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced small
2-3 tablespoons honey
Place ingredients in medium bowl. Mix all ingredients together. If desired, combine additional flavor ingredients; add to mixture. Adjust seasonings to taste. Cover and chill For best flavor, allow to come to room temperature about 1 hour before serving.
Note: Add a little more heat to this recipe by including 1 teaspoon fresh chopped cilantro and 2 teaspoons of finely chopped fresh jalapeno pepper.
CAYENNE GRILLED PEACHES
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cayenne
Whipped cream for serving
Prepare a hot grill.
Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits.
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, vanilla and cayenne.
Place the peach halves in a baking dish cut side up and spoon the sugar mixture over the peaches. Allow to sit for 20 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves.
Place the peaches on the grill skin side down and cook about 3 minutes, or until they develop some char and the sugar is slightly set.
Turn over and grill for 1 minute, then quarter turn them to develop a nice diamond-shaped grill mark. Remove, place on serving plates, and serve with a dollop of whipped cream. Serves 4.
Liz Balmaseda for The Palm Beach Post
Save money making this dish by combining cream cheese, sour cream, and heavy cream to create a mixture with a taste and consistency similar to Italian mascarpone.
SWEET BRUSCHETTA WITH PEACHES
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices crusty country bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 peaches, pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts or pistachios
1. Preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Clean grill grids thoroughly with a wire brush.
Combine cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream and vanilla.
Brush bread on both sides with oil.
2. Grill bread slices until bottoms are golden and marked by the grill, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn, sprinkle with salt, and grill another minute or two. Transfer to a serving platter.
3. Spread cream cheese mixture over bread slices. Arrange sliced peaches on top of cheese.
Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with nuts. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
GRILLED SPICE-RUBBED PORK TENDERLOIN WITH PEACHES
2 tablespoons. packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound total
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
Mix 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar, the paprika, allspice, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Trim pork, pat dry with paper towels, rub with 1 teaspoon of oil, and coat evenly with spice mixture. Halve and pit peaches, then brush with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and sprinkle cut sides with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
For a charcoal grill, open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter three-quarters filled with charcoal briquettes (4 1/2 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
For a gas grill, turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium-high.
Clean and oil the cooking grate. Place pork on grill and cook (covered if using gas), turning as needed, until browned on all sides and pork registers 145 degrees, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer pork to carving board, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest while grilling peaches.
Place peaches, cut side down, on grill and cook until well caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip peaches, cut side up, and continue to cook until they are slightly softened, about 3 minutes longer; transfer to platter. Cut pork into 1/2-inch thick slices and serve with peaches.
Makes 4 servings.
"America's Test Kitchen, 6 Ingredient Solution: How to Coax More Flavor from Fewer Ingredients"