Georgia Peach Magic Cobbler and Climate Change

I’m not really sure what to say…or do…or think. I had all good intentions of posting a light and airy conversation and some pretty pictures and a happy, happy southern summer recipe featuring this lovely bag of Pearson Farms Georgia Peaches from The Peach Truck stand at the downtown Nashville Farmer’s Market.

I was not going to talk about anything political. Two things in one day changed my mind. The first thing was an article I was reading early this morning in The New York Times from Wednesday’s edition about peaches. This article mentioned Pearson Farms in particular,  but in general the condition of orchards all across the country and about how the climate this past year has really affected the summer peach crops.

The second thing to interrupt my good intentions was Trump’s decision this afternoon to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. Anger, incredulity and sadness like a wave swept over my good intentions.

My grandmother might have said something about the pathway to hell being paved with good intentions. Enough said. So I shall continue with my post taking all of today’s information and upsets into consideration…

Buy some peaches when you see them…make a cobbler, or ice cream, maybe a peach tart, or eat in hand letting the juice run down your arm…don’t wait….the times are a’changin. Today’s peaches might be a thing of future stories and memories to savor.

Bag ripened peaches….peeled and sliced….

….butter and batter on the bottom of my Lodge Cast Iron double handled skillet…topped with sliced peaches and brown sugar.

Baked until hot and caramelized on top….

….with a scoop of vanilla. A bite of goodness in this uncertain world.

Drop and email, post card or letter to your elected officials letting them know you support the Paris Climate Accord and your local fruit growers who are affected every day by our changing weather.

Georgia Peach Magic Cobbler

  • Difficulty: very easy
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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup self-rising cornmeal
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar + extra for top of cobbler
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of one lemon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in a 2 quart cast iron skillet or other baking or casserole dish.
  3. Whisk together the self-rising flour and cornmeal, buttermilk, 1/2 cup brown sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Pour batter into the bottom of the skillet over butter. Do not stir.
  4. Scatter sliced peaches over the top of the batter. Do not stir.
  5. Sprinkle additional brown sugar over the top of the peaches.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes until batter is golden brown and peaches are a bit caramelized.
  7. Serve scooped into bowls with vanilla ice cream.

 

A Shero Inspired Summer Peach Tart with an Almond Shortcrust Pastry

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These are the last of the local summer peaches for this year. Aren’t they just beautiful? Recently while out walking I spotted a peach tree in my neighborhood with limbs heavy with ripe peaches. The tree belongs to my neighbor, Nancy Hardaway, who has moved away and has her house for sale. I did not think she would mind if I helped myself to a few which you see here that were perfectly ripe and luscious with lots of juice. Thanks Nancy!

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This peach tart recipe with a shortcrust pastry is based on one I ran across while looking through some older cookbooks in my collection, Donna Hay’s “Modern Classics” Book 2 from 2003. She has for a long time been one of my culinary “Sheroes” & has always been way ahead of her time in her approach to modern cooking. She was doing things in 2003 in Australia that we had only begun to think about when it comes to cooking & food style. I made a few small tweaks but as with most of her recipes it was already close to perfect.

Do you have a favorite culinary Shero?

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Good quality butter cut into small pieces and frozen…plain & almond flour…pastry quickly made in a food processor….kneaded a bit before rolling…..

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…rolled out and fitted into a tart pan with a removable bottom….blind-baked (see this article for more explanation on this) using parchment & dried beans (or pie weights)…

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…a simple Greek yogurt-sugar-egg filling….topped with peach slices tossed in slightly sweetened beaten egg whites….

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…and baked until peaches & crust are golden brown. Missed peach season? Plums would be yummy as well.

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Summer Peach Tart with an Almond Shortcrust Pastry

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients for Pastry:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces & frozen
  • ice water to bring the pastry together

Ingredients for Tart:

  • 3/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar for egg white
  • 6 peaches, stones removed and sliced, drained & patted dry
  • 3 tablespoons raw sugar

Directions:

  1. In a food processor blend the almond flour, all-purpose flour, sugar & butter until it looks grainy.
  2. With motor running drizzle in ice water by tablespoons just until a smooth dough forms. Remove dough from processor and knead gently a few times, form into a flatten ball, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for a half hour.
  3. Roll chilled dough out on a floured surface, lay over the top of a tart pan with a removable bottom (9 or 10 inch), fit down into the pan using your fingers and cut off excess around the top edge.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the pastry and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake pastry shell for 10 minutes with weights, remove and bake another 10 minutes or until crust is a light golden brown.
  5. Whisk together the yogurt, brown sugar & egg. Pour into warm baked pastry shell & bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Turn oven up to 400 degrees.
  6. While filling is cooking whip egg white with 1 tablespoon sugar until soft peaks form. Add peach slices to the whites & toss gently until coated. Pile peach slices on top of the filling, sprinkle with raw sugar and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven to a rack to cool and sprinkle with additional crunchy raw sugar or powdered sugar if desired. You can double this recipe easily and make two tarts like I did!

Note: Recipe based on a Donna Hay recipe from her book “Modern Classics” Book 2, 2003 Harper Collins Publisher.

teresablackburnfoodstyling.com      foodonfifth.com

My-Oh-My A Little Peach Pie

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There are some fruits in particular that have an inner glow. Light does not shine on them, but come from within. Summer peaches are one such fruit. They are ageless, timeless and have an art-historical romance that is inherent.

 I made my weekly pilgrimage to the Downtown Nashville Farmer’s Market to buy a paper sack of peaches from “The Peach Truck”. This is a weekly affair as long as they are on offer. I enjoy creating simple, delicious recipes using these peaches that do not cover up the natural flavors.

This is how it easy it is to make my “My-Oh-My A Little Peach Pie”. The ingredients are Peaches, sugar, frozen puff pastry and fresh lavender flowers.

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Frozen puff pastry is readily available in most supermarkets. Look for brands that use real butter such as Dufour. I keep a box of this in my freezer at all times. Just follow the package directions and you  can’t go wrong.

Do you peel ripe peaches? I do not unless the peel is very tough. In this case the lightly fuzzy peel was very soft and edible.

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Muscovado sugar with its hint of molasses & white sugar flavored with fresh lemon zest….fresh lavender flowers….and ripe peaches.

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I used the puff pastry scraps to top off this free-form pie.

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Not overly sweet with just a hint of molasses-dark brown sugar & lavender made this peach pie come alive.

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Here, have a bite….

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“From blossoms comes, this brown paper bag of peaches we bought from the boy at the bend in the road where we turned toward signs painted Peaches. From “Blossoms” By Li-Young Lee

My-Oh-My A Little Peach Pie

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients:

  • 4-5 ripe, but firm peaches, rinsed, patted dry & sliced
  • 1 pkg frozen puff pastry dough, thawed according to pkg directions
  • 1/3 cup white sugar flavored with 1 tsp lemon zest, divided
  • 3 Tbsps Muscovado sugar (or dark brown sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lavender flowers (or 1 tsp dried)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Unfold thawed puff pastry dough onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper placed on kitchen counter.  Cut dough into a 10 inch square using a sharp knife. (Roll out somewhat using a rolling-pin if necessary.) Save scraps for topping pie.
  3. Lift edges of parchment paper and place dough on a baking sheet & sprinkle surface with 2 Tbsp of the white lemon sugar.
  4. Arrange peach slices on top of dough leaving a 1 1/2 to 2 inch border uncovered. Sprinkle peaches with Muscovado sugar and half the lavender flowers.
  5. Arrange scrap strips of puff pastry dough over top of peaches  and fold bottom edges of dough up and over the edges of the filling. Sprinkle the dough with the remaining white lemons sugar and lavender flowers.
  6. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until puff pastry dough is golden brown and crispy. Remove pie from oven and cool on a rack for a bit before serving. Wonderful warm with a scoop of ice cream or as is which is my favorite way to enjoy this seasonal dessert.

For Lemon Sugar to use in this or other desserts: add fresh lemon zest to white sugar and stir….use in your desserts to brighten up the flavors.

Recipe by: Teresa Blackburn June 2015

“My Three Peaches – Refrigerator Jam”

“My Three Peaches”

“My Three Peaches Refrigerator Jam”

 I started out with more than three peaches mind you. I started out with a whole bowl full of perfectly tree-ripened peaches as a matter of fact. Some of the peaches were for various photo shoots I have been styling….but in the end there were three peaches left over….for me.  They sat a round for a few days on my kitchen counter. I was much to busy so I just ignored them almost until the point-of-no-return.

Wanting to save these beautiful golden orbs tinged with reddish-pink for a bit later , I quickly made a (sorry reader!) no-real-recipe “Three Peach Refrigerator Jam”. But I will share what I did to prep the peaches & the ingredients I used, as well as the steps to cook and jar. Anyone can do it…you really can’t go wrong. Try it, you will see.

What I discovered is that it is lots of fun to make one jar of refrigerator jam that will keep for weeks chilled. There is no pressure to get out all the canning accoutrements, no fear of death from eating a badly processed jar of fruit, no lengthy time spent, just the simple pleasure of taking a few pieces of fruit to savor later in a new form.

Here is what you will need for approximately 1 pint of peach jam:

3 very ripe, sweet peaches

about 2/3  cup sugar

a long strip of lemon peel

1/4 cup water or juice

2 Cardamom pods

a pinch of red pepper flakes

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

First things first:

1. Let me show you how I very easily peel peaches.

Bring a pot of water to boil. Cut an “X” in non-stem end of peach. Add to boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon.
Plunge peaches into ice water & leave for a few minutes.
Use your fingers to peel back peach skin. Skin slips right off.

2. Cut peaches into slices or chunks. Place in a heavy saucepan. Add  sugar, lemon peel, water or juice &  cardamom pods.

3. Bring to a low boil over medium heat. Stir often. Simmer until fruit is softened & mixture starts to thickened. About 20 minutes.

4. Stir in a pinch of red pepper flakes & balsamic vinegar.

4. Simmer peach mixture for another 8-10 minutes, stirring often. Mixture will darken to a deep amber color & thicken. Remove from heat.

5.  Spoon hot peach mixture into a glass jar & cover with a tight-fitting lid. Allow to cool at room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.

That is all there is to it. Now, as luck would have it,  within a couple of days of making this jam I had a photo shoot where I needed to make some biscuits. Quick, fluffy, light, airy homemade biscuits! Ahhh, my freshly made peach jam & hot buttery biscuits were a match made in culinary heaven!

“Living Life One-Bite-At-A-Time”