Life’s a peach, so savor it

By on July 11, 2013


“… the walls were wet and sticky,
And peach juice was dripping from the ceiling.
James opened his mouth
And caught some of it on his tongue.”
It tasted delicious.

— From James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl

One of the things I truly love about traveling through the South in the summertime is all the roadside fruit and vegetable stands. There’s nothing more satisfying than to sink one’s teeth into a freshly picked peach at the peak of its flavor, still warm from the sun and bursting with juicy goodness.

It just so happens I have a big boxful of Georgia peaches and I can’t wait to start on some peach recipes. No Southern kitchen would be worth its salt without a recipe for peach cobbler. It’s nothing fancy. It’s homey, comfort food and it’s as American as apple pie. Served hot out of the oven with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream, it’s a dessert that’s just this side of heaven.

cobblerPeach Cobbler

Put 1 stick butter in an 8-inch square baking dish. Place dish in oven and turn to 350°.
Let butter melt. Remove from oven and cool slightly.

4 cups peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced (about 8 peaches)
1 cup sugar
1 TB lemon juice
Mix all together and set aside for 30 minutes.
Drain the liquid, reserving it for later. You can heat it up and pour it over top of ice cream
or refrigerate it and save for another use. Pancake syrup comes to mind or a peach granita.

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon

Stir into dry mixture:
½ cup skim milk
½ cup cream
1 TB vanilla
Whisk well to remove any lumps.

Pour batter over melted butter. Do not stir.
Spoon drained peaches over batter. Do not stir.

Bake at 350° 30 minutes. Raise heat to 400° and cook 10-15 minutes longer, until golden brown.

Last fall, while the Hawthornes were driving through Georgia, I was both navigating our way as we meandered throughout the state and reading an Official Georgia Travel Guide Magazine which was liberally littered with Southern recipes. I came across a recipe for Peach Beehives, which I offer to you, along with a Hard Rum Sauce as an accompaniment.

beehivePeach Beehives
3-4 peaches, skin on, washed, and left damp
1 refrigerated pie crust (I use Pillsbury’s refrigerated rolled dough.)
Cut refrigerated pie crust into ½-inch strips. Starting at the bottom of the peach, coil the pie strips around the peach, pressing the edges of the dough to seal the seams. Cover the entire peach.
Place peaches on a cookie sheet bottoms up. Top each with a pat of butter and sprinkle turbinado sugar, cinnamon, and freshly grated nutmeg over the pastry.
Bake in a 425° oven about 40 minutes, or until pastry is nicely browned.

While the beehives bake, prepare the Hard Sauce.

insideHard Rum Sauce
½ stick butter
½ cup powdered sugar
1 TB cream
Rum to taste (Start with 1 TB.)
In small saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in powdered sugar and cream. Stir in rum to taste.
Pour warm sauce over beehives.

Inside, the peach is almost custard-like. This is divine.

In my opinion, summer is not complete without homemade Georgia Peach Ice Cream.

icecreamGeorgia Peach Ice Cream
2 cups peaches, peeled and chopped (about 5 peaches)
1 ¼ cups sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
2 large eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 TB vanilla

Combine the peaches, ½ cup of the sugar, and the lemon juice in a bowl.
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so.
Remove the peaches from the refrigerator and drain the juice into another bowl.
Return peaches to refrigerator.
Whisk eggs until light and fluffy.
Whisk in the remaining ¾ cup sugar, a little at a time.
Continue whisking until completely blended.
Whisk in the cream, milk, vanilla, and reserved peach juice.
Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
About 5 minutes before ice cream is done, add in the peaches.
Continue freezing until the ice cream is ready.
Makes about 6 cups.

For the perfect summertime refreshment, I highly recommend a granita. Somewhere between a snow-cone and a sorbet, a granita is a light, icy, slushy dessert. The flavor variations are endless. I happen to have some peachy slush in my fridge leftover from my cobbler, along with a watermelon and blueberries. Sounds like a plan.

granitaPeach and Watermelon Granita
5 peaches, peeled and chopped
1 cup sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp cinnamon
2 cups watermelon pieces/slush

Combine peaches, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon.
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, stirring the mixture every 30 minutes.
Add in the watermelon and stir to combine.
Pour mixture into a 9 x 13-inch pan and place in freezer.
Every 30 minutes or so, take a fork and stir the icy outside pieces into the middle.
Keep raking the granita into flaky, glittery crystals.
Scrape for about 2 hours.
Serve slushy and you have a wonderfully complex harmony of flavors.
And the only equipment you need is a fork and a baking dish.
Garnish with blueberries.

For more recipes, please visit with Rosie at KitchensAreMonkeyBusiness.

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