Peach Archive

Thursday, September 2, 2010

peach shortbread

peach shortbread

Is there an unsaid rule that bar cookies have to be heavy and gooey? Two weeks ago, we picked up a cup of coffee on our way to the park so that the little monkey could continue his path of destruction outside our apartment, and I fell for something in the bakery case called peach shortbread, cut into bars. But instead of being thick and intense, it was delicate, light and barely sweet — a thin layer of shortbread, even thinner slices of peach and the faintest sprinkling of streusel on top. I knew I had to share it.

shortbread
peaches, tiled

And it wasn’t until I had jotted down “peach streusel bar” on my to-do list that I remembered a recipe for brown butter peach bars from that I found in a preview of The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook in The New York Times nearly three years ago, and have pined for since. (This recipe didn’t make it into the cookbook, but a rhubarb version — that looked almost as time-consuming and delicious — did.) Every summer, I swear, I’m going to summon the energy to make them. First, you make a peach jam from fresh peaches. It involves a candy thermometer. It takes an hour to cook. Then you brown butter and freeze it until solid. Then you make a crumb base with this butter, bake it for 20 minutes and let it cool. Then you make a custard filling with fresh vanilla bean, and brown more butter. This filling is spread over the baked crust, the peach jam is dolloped over that, and you bake it for 30 minutes more. I have no doubt that nirvana ensues, in fact, a reader recently told me that she tried them and they were absolutely worth it. But I got tired just typing this paragraph and I realized it was time for me to admit that it might not be worth it to me, especially since so much of time right now is spent doing things like this.

peach shortbread, haphazard

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, July 15, 2010

peach blueberry cobbler

cornmeal drop biscuits, cobbler

I am having the worst luck with peaches this summer. Without fail, every week I am lured in by the most fragrant peaches I’ve ever sniffed at the market, and without fail, the day after they come home with me, they’re mush. Sweet, peachy mush. To eat one requires hovering over a sink, and then a mop and a shirt change anyway and no, sadly, I am not speaking of the baby’s messes. These are not bad problems to have; “Woe is me! My peaches are too juicy!” doesn’t exactly make a room nod in sympathy but the week I made the mistake of letting the peaches go a whole 48 hours uneaten the only thing left to with the misshapen lot was to bake them.

these peaches had better days
naked peaches

Like I said, not bad problems to have. These Jersey peaches are a fuzzy lot so although I’m not always particular about peach skin, I demanded it come off before I eat them. Fortunately, this is as simple as a little “X” in the bottom and a quick trip through boiling water, and naked peaches will slip-n-slide all over your counter. (See above: mop and new shirt.) And then, when I realized I had a whole leftover pint of blueberries, I forced them to face the same bubbling dark brown sugar fate as the peaches. With a cornmeal biscuit on top. I don’t think they minded meeting their end this way, do you?

blueberries + sliced peaches

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

peach cupcakes with brown sugar frosting

peach cupcakes, brown sugar cream cheese frosting

My friend Molly — she of the dry-rubbed ribs and apple tarte tatin fame — is leaving us for the kind of love that requires one to take up residence in another state. We’re all mighty bummed out about this and not making it easy on her, not only pouting over her imminent departure at every turn but insisting that she perform her half-day rib magic one last time at her going-away party this weekend.

peachesmm, street peachespeach cupcakes, ready to bakepeach cupcake, cooling

Because it was Molly who introduced me to the unparalleled awesomeness that is South Carolina peaches (albeit from the mountains of North Carolina) [and how they're even better when they're sliced and dolloped with whole milk yogurt, or about the only breakfast (with less-exciting and much-fuzzier local peaches) I can fathom on these steaming August days], I wanted to bake something with peaches for the party, but not peach hand pies or peach crème fraîche pie. I wanted to make peach cupcakes.

peach cupcakes, cream cheese frosting

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, July 18, 2009

peach and crème fraîche pie

peach and creme fraiche pie

Inadvertently, Martha has become my girl this week as I’ve been floundering around trying to figure out what to do with my seasonal produce that a) I haven’t done before and b) doesn’t require any great amount of fussing. Or work. Or adherence to recipes. (Okay, that last part may be more of a Deb than a Martha thing, but you won’t tell her, right?) The arugula, potato and green bean salad was good and well enough for a Wednesday night, but did little to help me turn last week’s languishing South Jersey peaches into something better. (Who forgets they have almost two pounds of farm fresh peaches in their fridge? Guilty as charged.)

south jersey peaches

I’ve already cobbler-ed, baited, dumpling-ed and shortcaked this summer, with a little extra hand pie thrown in on July 4th, and I wanted something new when Martha swept in, saving the day, with a pie that looked so ridiculously simple but curiously original, it had to be mine. Er, ours.

making the pie crustquartered and pitted peachespeaches, maceratingpeaches, creme fraiche, half-streuseled

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, August 28, 2008

bourbon peach hand pies

bourbon peach hand pies

Over a year ago, I made hand pies and declared them a delicious disaster. The pie dough wasn’t bendy enough to suit what I had in mind, and they too easily leaked and broke, but that had no effect on the final taste. Nevertheless, I promised to try them again soon, with one of three dough recipes I had in mind that would work better.

peeling peaches

But that wasn’t the only reason. You see the hand pies? They GOT STOLEN before my friends got to eating them. I mean, who could blame the thieves, right? In fact, we knew exactly who they were and they have yet to be invited back. We take pie theft quite seriously, you see.

finely chopped fruitblurry bourbonchilled crustsspooning the filling

It was my friend Tim that had specifically requested pie, and I had the idea of hand pies to make them finger food, as there would be many people at the party and who wants to deal with plates and forks? Except, he was busy DJing so I stashed them downstairs in Jocelyn’s loft, away from prying eyes–or so I thought! When I got to retrieving them an hour later, both containers–more than 40 hand pies–were empty and crumbs-around-the-mouth guilty parties milling about were going on about how good they were.

The nerve.

Continued after the jump »


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