Of all the luscious summer fruits, fresh juicy peaches that dribble juice down our chins seem to be a favorite.
A pretty red blush on a peach doesn’t mean it’s ripe. Look for a yellowish or creamy background color, smooth unblemished skin and fruit that yields to gentle pressure. Aroma is important, too. A ripe peach has that wonderfully unique peachy smell.
Once home, refrigerate ripe peaches. If not ripe, place in a paper bag, close loosely and leave at room temperature. This will speed up and encourage the natural ripening process. Check daily for ripeness by placing the fruit in your palm and squeezing gently.
Peeling is not necessary but if a recipe calls for peeled peaches, submerge them into boiling water for 30 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge into cold water. The skins will slip off easily.
Preserve cut or sliced peaches’ color by dipping in a mixture of 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 cup water.
Combine peaches and the next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly until the peaches are coated. Spoon into an unbaked pie shell. Dot with butter, moisten pastry edge with water.
Cover with top crust. Fold top edge under bottom crust. Flute with fingers or fork. Cut slits in top crust.
Bake in a preheated 425-degree oven 35-40 minutes. Cool to room temperature before serving.
Cobblers are delicious and cook-friendly. They’re not supposed to slice neatly, so what if the fruit doesn’t thicken quite enough? And cobblers have just one layer of pastry to bake right.
Combine flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and baking powder in bowl. Cut in butter until “peas” form. Quickly stir in half and half. Spoon dumpling mixture on top of hot fruit in baking dish in 6 spoonfuls. Sprinkle small amount of sugar, then slivered almonds, over each dumpling.
Bake in preheated 400-degrees until dumplings are browned and fruit is hot and bubbly, 25-30 minutes. Serves six.
And here’s an easy-to-make dessert that is a cross between an upside-down cake and a shortcake — and a standard muffin tin allows you to make six individual cakes at once.
1 minute or until butter is melted. Remove and stir mixture with a fork. Set aside.
Cut peaches into 1/2-inch cubes. Divide peaches among six muffin cups and lightly press down so they fit snugly. Place muffin tin on a cookie sheet and bake until peaches begin to exude juices, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make biscuits. Stir together Bisquick, oats, sugar and milk until a soft dough forms. Place dough on a surface dusted with Bisquick and pat until about 1/2-inch thick, adding additional Bisquick if dough is sticky. Using a cookie cutter about the size of the top of the muffin tin, cut out 6 rounds. Lightly dust edges of biscuits with more oats.
Remove pan from the oven and place one biscuit over each cup, sprinkle with sugar and return to oven until biscuits are golden-brown and cooked through, 10-15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Place a platter on top of the muffin tin and, holding two pieces together, invert. Remove muffin tin and serve shortcakes immediately with vanilla ice cream.
For the most part, the harvest of peaches will be over by the end of the month, so hurry up — you’re running out of time. Buy some peaches, even if just to slice them for your morning cereal or a bowl of ice cream after dinner. Go ahead and bite into one of those glorious fruits and let the juice dribble down your chin — I dare you.
All recipes from my files.
Marian Platt can be reached at 683-4691 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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