Peaches and Dreams

Sweet Summertime Isn’t Complete Without the Peach

Story by Meredith S. Jensen • Recipes by Andrea Lewis

There are few greater joys in summer, let alone in life, than sinking your teeth into a juicy peach. One bite breaks across your senses — skin soft and slightly fuzzy against your tongue, flesh tender and succulent, the smell of nectar and sunlight bursting to life beneath your nose, and a flavor so divine it must have tumbled from the plates of Olympus. We couldn’t possibly dream a lovelier fruit.

For the Mid-Ohio Valley, peach season runs now through September, but for anyone eager for an early bite of summer, California, Georgia and South Carolina peaches are ready beginning in April, often through October. Take advantage of one of summer’s greatest treasures with these tips and recipes.

Market Pick Tips
From the Ohio Farm Bureau
  • Select peaches that are firm to slightly soft and free from bruises.
  • The best sign of ripeness in a peach is a creamy or golden undertone, often called “ground color.” The rosy “blush” on a peach is not a good indicator of ripeness and differs from one variety to the next.
  • Fresh peach fragrance also indicates ripeness.
  • Avoid peaches with a green ground color as they lack flavor and usually shrivel and become tough rather than ripen.
Peachy keen ideas
From “Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables” by Cheryl Sternman Rule
  • Relish: diced peaches + cherries + red onion + ginger
  • Snack: sliced peaches + goat cheese
  • Chutney: peaches + sugar + white wine vinegar + ground cloves + allspice
  • Dessert: grilled peaches + tart frozen yogurt + crushed Amaretti cookies
  • Parfait: peaches + ginger simple syrup + mascarpone + sweetened ricotta cheese + crystallized ginger
  • Bellini: peach nectar + Prosecco/Champagne/sparkling wine
  • Shake: blended peaches + blueberries + frozen banana + flaxseed + soymilk

 

Kitchen tip: Nectarines and peaches are interchangeable. Their only basic genetic difference is the peach’s fuzzy skin.

 

Ricotta Cake with Peaches

INGREDIENTS

• 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (scoop and level to measure)

• 2 teaspoons baking powder

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1 cup granulated sugar

• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

• 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest

• 3 large eggs

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese

• 3 peaches sliced

• Coarse sugar to top

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line bottom with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment.
  1. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
  1. In a separate mixing bowl, cream together sugar, butter and lemon zest until blended and fluffy.
  1. Mix in eggs one at a time , add vanilla.
  1. Add in half of the flour mixture and mix just until combined, add ricotta and mix just until combined.
  1. Add in last half of the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Gently fold batter to ensure ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  1. Pour batter into prepared springform pan and spread into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and top with sliced peaches (layer in a spiral pattern)
  1. Return to oven and continue baking for about 40 minutes (cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean).
  1. Let cake cool 10 minutes then run a knife around edge to loosen any edges that may have stuck slightly, remove springform ring and continue to let cool.

 

Once cool, slice and serve with Bourbon Peach Topping:

• 3 large ripe peaches

• 2 tablespoons butter

• 3 tablespoons bourbon

• 2 tablespoons brown sugar

• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

• pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Peel and core peaches. Slice into bite-sized chunks.
  2. In a non-stick pan, heat butter over medium heat until browned.
  3. When melted, add bourbon, brown sugar and vanilla extract.
  4. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes
  5. Add Peaches
  6. Cook over medium heat until peaches are soft.
  7. Serve warm over Shortcakes, Poundcakes, or ice cream

 

Individual Peach Cobbler

(makes 6)

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups peaches, unpeeled and cut up.
  • 2 tsp teaspoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

For batter:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • ½ cup milk

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Combine cut up peaches. Add lemon juice, sugar, and vanilla. Stir to evenly coat and set aside.
  3. Divide the 5 tablespoons of butter evenly between the 6 ramekins
  4. Place ramekins on a baking sheet, and then place in oven just until butter is melted, being careful that butter does not burn, about 4 minutes
  5. Meanwhile, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add milk and stir just until dry ingredients are incorporated. Do not over stir.
  6. Pull ramekins out of oven.
  7. Add batter on top of melted butter. Do not stir.
  8. Add peaches over batter. Do not stir.
  9. Return ramekins to oven and bake at 375 degrees for five minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake until golden brown and batter begins to pull away from edges, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  10. Cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

 

Top with Cinnamon Marscapone Whipped Frosting

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to over beat, or cream will be grainy).
  2. In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone, cinnamon and confectioners’ sugar until smooth.
  3. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Use immediately.