Peaches take the cake — or pie, cobbler
May is the beginning of peach season, which continues until late September, but peach season is at its peak in July and August. No summer is complete without some fresh peach pies.
At its ripest and best, the peach is a food that forces you to adopt a special eating season — bowing forward at an angle and with arms raised above the horizontal — to avoid being bathed in peach juice.
Now, here’s an idea. Try them in cake or pie…they’re not as messy that way.
EASY PEACH COBBLER
1-3/4 pounds fresh peaches
1/2 cup (4 oz.) salted butter
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Gently rub the peaches under running water to remove fuzz, and slice peaches. (You will have about 4 cups.) Place butter in an 11- x 7-inch baking dish; place dish in oven until butter melts. Stir together flour, sugar, milk, and vanilla in a bowl, and pour onto melted butter. (Do not stir.) Spoon peaches over mixture. (Do not stir.)
Bake in preheated oven until brown and bubbly, 45 to 50 minutes.
PEACH UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE
4 medium peaches (about 1-1/2 pounds) unpeeled and cut into 1/3-inch-thick wedges
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
1 cup cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature and divided
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
Sweetened whipped cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 350º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (This helps with cleanup.) Toss peaches with lemon juice. Sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
Cook 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, 10 minutes or until sugar melts and turns a deep amber color. Remove from heat. Immediately add 1/4 cup butter, stirring vigorously. Spread caramelized sugar to coat bottom of skillet evenly, and sprinkle with brown sugar. Arrange peach wedges in concentric circles over sugar mixture, overlapping as needed.
Split vanilla bean lengthwise, and scrape out seeds into bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer. Beat vanilla seeds and remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup butter at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add sour cream, beating until blended. Gradually add sifted flour mixture, beating at low speed just until blended and stopping to scrape bowl as needed. Spoon batter over peaches in skillet, and spread to cover. Place skillet on prepared baking sheet.
Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in skillet on a wire rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge to loosen.
PEACH HAND PIES
For the pastry crust:
2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 stick)
6 tablespoons solid shortening
6 tablespoons ice cold water
1 large egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk
For the filling:
5 medium to large peaches
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of table salt
juice of 1/2 a lemon
a few drops of almond extract
For the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk or cream, more or less for desired consistency
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Peel and dice the peaches into 1/2-inch pieces. Place the diced peaches in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 cup granulated sugar Gently toss to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for an hour.
While the peaches are making their juice, mix up the pastry dough.
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the cold water and pulse just until the dough starts to hold together. Don’t over process.
Gather the dough together and divide in half. Form each half into a disc. Wrap each tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Once the peaches have rested for an hour, drain the juice into a medium saucepan. Set aside the diced peaches. Whisk in the corn starch, cinnamon and salt until combined. Cooke over medium heat until the syrup boils. Whisking constantly, cook for about 2 minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and almond extract. Gently fold in the peaches and any extra juice. Set aside to cool while rolling out the dough.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to rest 10-15 minutes. Lightly flour a clean work surface and dust the dough with flour. Roll out one of the discs to about 1/8-inch thick and cut out as many 4-inch rounds as you can at first pass. Gather dough scraps together and set aside.
Place the 4-inch rounds of dough on a large piece of parchment or wax paper.
Beat together the egg and milk. Brush the egg mixture all over the pastry rounds. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of each pastry. Pull up the sides to make the hand pie look like a taco and start sealing the edges starting on the bottom working your way up to the middle. Lay the pies on their side and seal the edges together using the tines of a fork. Cut a few small slits in the top to vent. Move the unbaked pies to a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before baking. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. If the dough becomes hard to handle or sticky, refrigerate 15-20 minutes and try again.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Remove the pastries from the refrigerator and brush the tops of the pies with a little bit of the egg and milk mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer hand pies to a wire rack to cool.
Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk or cream and almond extra until smooth. Add additional sugar or milk to reach the desired consistency.
Drizzle the icing on the cooled pies and serve immediately. Refrigerate left over pies in a single layer in an airtight container.
PEACH PIE BISCUIT BOMBS
1 package refrigerated Grands Flaky Biscuits
1 cup sliced fresh peaches (1″ pieces)
3-4 ounces soft Brie cheese
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
3 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Split the biscuits in half. Place 3-4 pieces of peach in the center of the bottom half of each biscuit. Add a small spoonful of the Brie (about a teaspoon). Then sprinkle them all with brown sugar and cinnamon. Drizzle with a little honey (if you are using it).
Place the top back on each biscuit and gently press the edges down to lightly seal and close. Take each one in your hand and gently form into balls so the biscuit is wrapped all the way around the filling. Place them about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
Put the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Melt it and then let it snap and crackle in the pan until it smells nutty. Remove from the heat. Brush each bomb with the browned butter, making sure to get the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Bake for 12-15 minutes. The tops will be golden.
Brush the pie bombs with the brown butter again after baking and serve warm.