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.

 

Upside Down Olive Oil Georgia Peach Cake (Gluten Free Y’All)

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“Upside Down Olive Oil Peach Cake”(Gluten Free)

This past week has been busy in a fun way. Photo shoots both editorial and commercial, celebrations of a new cookbook release that I worked on, and a weekend full of the World Cup and a lazy baking Saturday. The other fun thing for me is that as of today I am adding a “printable recipe” at the end of all my posts! This will make it easier for you to try out some of the offerings from Food on Fifth.

The Peach Truck Peaches

I do think I have a case of “peach madness” this summer. I blame this totally on the arrival of “The Peach Truck” in Nashville from Georgia with bags and bags full of delicious peaches. I eat them rinsed, fuzz and all, on cereal, on toast. I have made frozen yogurt, pies  and more recently this upside down cake using peaches and olive oil along with a  flour I ran across in the grocery store a few days ago…Domata Gluten Free Recipe Ready Flour.

Domata Recipe Ready Gluten Free Flour

I realize that everyone knows about Georgia Peaches, but are you aware there is a thriving olive oil business down in Lakeland, Georgia…acres and acres of olive trees? I didn’t until I was given a bottle by cookbook author, Matt Moore, while working on a photo shoot with him. Amazingly good and perfect for my cake. A belated thanks Matt.

Whether testing recipes for clients or cooking at home I always gather and measure all my ingredients before I start just to make sure I have everything I need. I find it very annoying to get to the middle of a recipe and realize I am short an egg or do not have enough milk. Very annoying.

Peach Cake ingredients

I used a fluted pan just because I think it is pretty.

Peach Cake in the Oven

I let this cake cool for about 30 minutes before turning it out onto a plate.

Peach Cake Baked

Flipped out onto a plate & ready for a powder sugar dusting. Love the color of those peaches!

Upside Down Peach Cake

Peach Cake dusted with Powdered Sugar

So pretty and moist, with an almost pudding-like texture and nice crispy edges. Not too sweet (you know I do not like overly sweet desserts) with the flavor of the peaches coming through strong.

Why an olive oil cake? Olive Oil in a cake never “sets up” again as does butter or solid veg shortening after the dessert cools, therefore the cake is much more moist and stays that way. I made a pound cake using olive oil & Blood Oranges and it was fantastic. For a more lucid and exact explanation as to why cakes made with olive oil are more tender check out this article by Fine Cooking.

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Of course we ate a slice while the cake was still warm on Saturday, but the next day, chilled,  it was still as good…in fact so good that my friend Terry M. ate 2 pieces while we worked the Sunday NYTimes Crossword puzzle! Yep, that good.

Upside Down Olive OIl Peach Cake

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Peach Cake dusted with Powdered Sugar

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten-free baking flour (Domata is the brand I used), or all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups raw or turbinado sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp each baking soda and baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups good quality olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • the zest from one orange + the juice
  • 4-5 fresh peaches peeled and sliced
  • powdered sugar for garnish/serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl.
  3. Using a mixer blend together the olive oil & sugar. With mixer running drizzle in olive oil. Scrape down sides of bowl as need be. Turn mixer to low and add eggs & milk.
  4. Add orange zest, orange juice and flour with mixer on low-speed just until well blended.
  5. Place sliced peaches in the bottom of a well-greased 8 or 9 inch baking pans. Pour batter on top of peach slices and spread evenly.
  6. Place in oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until cake in set in the middle and is golden brown. If cake starts to get too brown cover loosely with a sheet of foil.
  7. Remove from the oven. Let cool on a rack and serve at room temp or chilled.
  8. Dust with powdered sugar when serving if desired.

A Vintage Recipe Box + The Peach Truck = Summer Peach Pies

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A few weeks ago  I was rummaging around in an antique mall and found an old recipe box (see below) with each recipe carefully written out in old-fashioned beautiful “Cursive”. As you can see the box has been mended with tape multiple times and bears all the tell-tale signs of being much used. I fell in love with it.

Don’t you think it is beautifully interesting?  Whose was it?  Why does some daughter or son not have it in their kitchen right now? Whoever you are, or were, your recipe box is going to be well taken care of.

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As I was looking through the recipes I noticed something interesting when it came to the desserts…cakes, pies, puddings. They all call for about half as much sugar as what I am used to seeing in newer recipes. Perhaps this was just particular to the owner of this box, perhaps someone in the family needed to watch their sugar intake, or maybe these dessert recipes are from a time where our palates had not become so used to “sugar overload”? I wanted to try this recipe for “Peach Pie (Fresh)” because it just sounded so simple and “fresh”.

This same week I had purchased my first bag of “The Peach Truck” Georgia peaches (featured in the Summer Issue of “Sweet Paul” magazine) at the Downtown Nashville Farmer’s Market. I left them in the bag for a few days to ripen. A great pair…this recipe & the ripe peaches!

The Peach Truck Peaches

What you will need to make  this “Peach Pie (Fresh)”

6-8 fresh ripe peaches

1/2 cup raw sugar or white sugar + extra for dusting on top of the finished pie

1 pie crust for a double crust pie – 1 to line the pan + 1 for the lattice top (I used a wonderful slightly sweet pie dough recipe based on one found in Alisa Huntsman’s cookbook “Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe”(see end of blog for directions for this wonderful crust which I highly recommend.)  If you do not “make pie crusts” then use a store-bought one dusted with a bit of powdered sugar.

Before we make the pie I am going to show you the easiest way in the world to peel a peach……

peach peeling
Cut an “X” in the bottom of each peach.
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Gently drop peaches into softly boiling water.
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Remove peaches from simmering water after about 2 minutes & quickly plunge into ice water.
Peeling peaches
Using your fingers gently peel back peach skin from the bottom of each peach where you made the “X”. The skin will slip right off with just a bit of coaxing.

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Now we will make our basic lattice topped “Peach Pie (Fresh)”.

1. Roll out and fit one of the pie crusts into the bottom of 8 or 9 inch regular pie pan somewhat “fluting” the sides if you like. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Cut peaches into wedges away from the pit & place in a bowl. You should about 6 cups of cut-up peaches for this pie.  Add 1/ 2 cup white granulated sugar as the recipe calls for or raw sugar if you prefer. Toss the peaches & sugar together.

raw sugar

3. Fill bottom pie crust with sugared peaches & their juice.

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4. Roll out 2nd/top crust to make the lattice. Cut into random strips with a sharp knife. Place the strips over the top of the peaches weaving them over and under each other  in opposite directions. I do not even try to make my “lattice” tops perfect but a bit more artful and random which I think is prettier. As you may have guessed I am not a lover of perfection, just things that are perfectly, beautifully not perfect.

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5. Tuck ends of lattice strips under the bottom crust edge and re-flute.

lattice pie crust

6. Place the uncooked pie on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Dust with some additional sugar if desired, pop in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 and cook for another 30 minutes or until the peaches are hot and bubbly and the crust is golden brown and crispy. Serve warm as is or with a scoop of ice cream.

Wedge of peach pie

Okay, now let me tell you a couple of things about this recipe. It was indeed not icky sweet nor “gloopy” as fruit pies can sometimes turn out with too much cornstarch. The bottom crust was not soggy, the top crust was flakey and over all this pie tasted like I think a peach pie should taste. This is how a fruit pie should taste…like the ripe fruit used complementing a flakey crust & just enough sugar to call it dessert. No soggy crust or gloopy-ness!

Here are a few other variations on this peach pie recipe I made with the extra dough…

“A Wee Fresh Peach & Blueberry Pie”

Made the same way with the addition of fresh blueberries & a cookie cutter cut out crust top in a little 6″ pie pan.

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and…..”A Very, Very Wee Fresh Peach Pie”

Just fresh sugared peaches, pie crust leftovers rolled out in a 3 inch tartlet pan.

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And here is how to make this very good pie crust. Thanks Alisa!

Here is my version of Alisa’s pie crust:

1. Measure 2 1/2 cups flour + 1/2 cup confectioner sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple of times.

2. Cut 1 1/2 stick of butter into small cubes & freeze for 5 minutes. Then sprinkle over the flour-sugar mixture & pulse a few times to mix in.

3. To the processor add 3 cold egg yolks & pulse again 3 or 4 times to blend somewhat.

4. To bring it all together drizzle 1/4 to 1/2 cup cold buttermilk or regular milk over the flour mixture through the feed tube of the processor until a dough ball begins to form. Remove dough & form into 4 dough balls flattened. Wrap each one with plastic & chill for 10 minutes before rolling out to make your pie crust.

Oh no!!!! we are finished yet…here’s a few tips for fitting your wonderful crust into your pie pan. Roll it, fold it in half…

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…fold again…..place in pie pan with the point in the center….

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…unfold the same way you folded…..

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…flute or not,  & fill.

Spider: [eating the peach] Mmmmm. Better than ladybugs.

Ladybug: What?

Spider: Excuse me.

Earthworm: It’s not dirt…

[takes a bite of the peach]

Earthworm: But it’s not bad.

(from “James and the Giant Peach”

 

 

“Balsamic-Brown Sugar Infused Peach Frozen Yogurt”

frozen yogurt peach

If you live in Nashville you might have seen “The Peach Truck” around your neighborhood? A few weeks ago they were parked  in front of the coffee shop next door to our house, The Red Bicycle, selling their Georgia fresh peaches. Bagged in paper sacks for proper ripening these Freestone Peaches, soft & fuzzy on the outside, juicy-sweet on the inside, were soon to be combined with a bit of Balsamic & Brown Sugar & churned into a soft serve frozen yogurt.

Peaches

Here is how you easily peel a peach….Cut an “X” in the bottom, plunge into hot boiling water for a few seconds….

Georgia Peaches

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….Remove from water & drain. Skin will easily peel away using the edge of a knife.

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Here is what you will need to for a batch of “…Peach Frozen Yogurt”:

5 peeled peaches, 1 1/2 generous cups of raw or brown sugar, 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar & 1 quart of full fat Greek Yogurt

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Here is how you make it:

 Cut peeled peaches into bite-sized chunks. Put into a glass or stainless bowl.

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Sprinkle brown sugar & balsamic vinegar over peaches.

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Stir to combine. Cover & chill overnight.

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I used this Balsamic vinegar which I purchased at Lazzaroli’s Pasta and Italian Market. It is almost like a glaze, but not quite…thicker than regular, a bit sweeter and a bit more expensive. I use it sparingly and for special recipes. It is a fine thing.

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This is what your peaches will look like the next day. They are ready for the ice cream freezer. I use a 2 quart electric Cuisinart freezer which works just great. Any ice cream freezer will do.

Here is what you do next:

In a large mixing bowl combine the Greek yogurt with the peaches & juice. Mix well. Pour into your ice cream freezer and churn according to your machine’s directions. Eat immediately or within an hour or so for a soft serve which is just the best way ever to enjoy it.

frozen peach yogurt

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Ripen peaches in a paper bag for a day or so to bring out their natural flavor & juice.

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