Just Peachy Blueberry Peach Pecan Scones

There are peaches, and there are peaches. There are the ones you buy at the supermarket with no taste, or the ones you buy and have to wait for 4 or 5 days for them to ripen before eating them,  and there are just picked, juicy, ripe, let’s-eat-them-today peaches that taste like summer sweetness. I have met few folks who do not like a good, ripe peach that you can eat in hand while the juice runs down your arm, which is one of life’s simple joys. This post is an ode to those kind of peaches.

In a few days there will be a new peach cookbook released by Gibbs-Smith Publishers that I had the pleasure of working on. “Just Peachy” by Belinda Smith-Sullivan. She is a person extraordinaire. Not only do her familial roots run deep in the South, she is a woman-of-the-world in both a culinary and travel sense.

Here is one of my favorite pics of Belinda amongst all those ready-to-pick South Carolina peaches. The granddaughter of Mississippi sharecroppers, Belinda is also a chef, food writer, creator of her on line of spice blends and a commercially-rated pilot who resides in South Carolina where some of the best peaches in the world grow which are the inspiration for this book.

photograph of Belinda by Mark Boughton Photography

The lovely photography in this book is by Mark Boughton. Check out his work on line. I had the rare chance to both style the food and do all the tabletop photo-prop styling for this cookbook and it was a great, just peachy time! Thanks Belinda and Mark.

Cover Image by Mark Boughton Photography “

This recipe, “Blueberry Peach Pecan Scones”, is easy to make and bake in less than 45 minutes total time. Serve them warm from the oven with homemade peach preserves (another recipe in the book you will love) and a smear of softened butter.

Because of all the peaches and blueberries, these scones are not as dry as some and were still good a few days after I baked them.

You can add the lemon glaze that is part of the recipe, or as I did, just sprinkle them with decorating sugar for the crunch.

Here, have a bite. Enjoy.

Blueberry Peach Pecan Scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I used half white and half raw sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (I love this spice so I used a bit more)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, or heavy cream
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup of peeled and chopped ripe peaches
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries (I frozen fresh berries on a flat tray and used instead of grocery store frozen, which you can use)
  • 1/4 cup milk, for wash
  • (My addition – 1/2 cup plain decorating sugar)
  • Glaze recipe: 1/4 cup fresh squeeze lemon juice + 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom. Cut butter into flour mixture using a pastry blender or your fingers until it resembles coarse meal. This step can also be done in the food processor.
  3. Combine buttermilk, egg, lemon zest and almond extract. Stir into the flour mixture along with the chopped peached, pecans and blueberries just until combined.
  4. On a lightly floured work surface, gather dough into a loose ball and flatten somewhat. Dust with flour, dough will be sticky, and roll out to about 3/4 inch thick. Cut dough into 4 inch square and then cut squares diagonally to make triangles. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with milk. (Dust with decorating sugar if you are using.) Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  5. For the glaze mix together lemon juice and sugar until sugar dissolves.  Drizzle over warm scones if desired.

Based on original recipe by Belinda Smith-Sullivan from her cookbook “Just Peachy” published by Gibbs-Smith Publishers.

Teresa Blackburn      teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

Sunday Supper – Grilled Za’atar-Flank Steak, Peaches, Blue Cheese and Hazelnuts on Arugula

Over the weekend I tested and photographed a recipe for one of my clients that was an arugula salad topped with grilled peaches (from The Peach Truck), blue cheese, thinly sliced red onions and hazelnuts along with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. All very good and summer-like and beautiful.

Using the leftovers I put together pretty much the same thing for our supper with the added deliciousness of a Middle Eastern seasoned and grilled flank steak.

The first time I was really aware of Za’atar seasoning was while having dinner a couple of years ago at one of my favorite Nashville restaurants, Epice. They served us wonderful bread with a dipping sauce that was more flavorful than the norm. I inquired about the seasoning and was told it was Za’atar. Middle Eastern in origin, it has been one of my seasoning basics ever since. I put it on my roasted vegetables, in salad dressings and rub it into steaks or chicken, lamb or pork before grilling. You can now buy it at lots of grocery stores and markets. I buy mine at K & S World Market on Charlotte Avenue.

Thank you to all our Nashville international community who open markets and restaurants where we can find such wonderful things to eat. You have brought the world to us bite by delicious bite.

It’s very easy to make your own. All you need is minced fresh thyme or dried thyme, toasted sesame seeds, ground sumac and sea salt.

Grilled Za'atar Flank Steak and Peaches, Blue Cheese and Hazelnut Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 handfuls of fresh baby arugula leaves
  • 3-4 fresh peaches, pitted and cut into sections
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil for brushing on peaches
  • 1/4 cup olive oil whisked with 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar & salt in a small bowl
  • 1/2 of a small red onion very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup toasted, chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 to 2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 to 1 lb piece of flank steak
  • 2 tablespoons Za’atar (recipe to make your own below)
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Rub meat surface with olive oil and Za’atar on both sides. Let sit for 10 minutes while grill heats up. (You can also cook under oven broiler)
  2. Grill meat to your liking, but will be best if left pink inside. The meat will continue to cook after you remove it from the grill. Let meat rest while you make the salad.
  3. Brush peach wedges with olive oil and grill for about 3-4 minutes. Do not overcook. Remove from grill and set aside.
  4. Add thinly sliced red onions to the small bowl of olive oil-balsamic mixture. Toss onions to coat.
  5. Right before serving slice the flank steak very thin.
  6. Add arugula leaves to a large salad bowl. Top with onions, grilled peaches, steak, blue cheese and hazelnuts. Drizzle remaining olive oil-balsamic mixture or other dressing over salad and serve with additional salt and pepper.

Ingredients for Za’atar if you want to make your own: 4 tablespoons minced fresh thyme (or 3 of dried ground); 4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, 4 teaspoons ground sumac, 1 teaspoon sea salt.

Directions for making Za’atar: Mix ingredients together in a small bowl. Store in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. If using fresh thyme then store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Teresa Blackburn http://www.foodonfifth.com   http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

 

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
  • Print

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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
  • Print

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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

“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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“A Dutch Baby for Breakfast!”

“Dutch Baby with Fresh Carolina Peaches”

This week as we are about to embark on a trip to The Netherlands I was reminded of one of the things I love to eat when traveling there, Pannekoeken, Dutch Pancakes….Dutch Babys. This is a post I wrote last summer in honor of these lovely light & airy pancakes that I love to eat while sitting alongside a canal watching the world float by.

A couple of Sunday mornings ago it was one of those extraordinary dawns for early summer in Nashville.  A bit chilly, the sun dappling through the trees, a cup of steamy hot coffee and the newspaper, nothing pressing..nothing to do…these times cry out for a quick & easy Dutch Baby for breakfast.

Dutch Babys are essentially puffy pancakes. They are easy and quick. They come out of the oven very puffy and quickly deflate. They are very delicious hot out of the oven savory or sweet, with fresh fruit or thick slices of crispy bacon. To the best of my knowledge Dutch Babys are not from The Netherlands, but from Germany…go figure?

If you have never made one of these beauties then you must. It is foolproof and fun. Kids love them..big and little kids.

Sitting on our kitchen table was a wooden bowl of perfectly ripe South Carolina peaches. The downtown Farmer’s Market had just gotten them in by the bushels & baskets. Soft & fuzzy on the outside, juicy & sweet on the inside.

Recipe for a Dutch Baby Pancake

1/3 cup raw sugar mixed with the zest of 1 lemon

2/3 cup milk

3 eggs

1 cup all purpose flour mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg & 1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla flavoring

1/2 stick butter, softened

Raw Sugar for dusting + Lemon wedges

Fresh ripe peaches peeled & cut into slices

1. Turn oven to 450 degrees. Place a 10 to 12 inch cast iron skillet in oven to preheat with oven.

2. In an electric blender beat eggs until frothy. Add milk, flour mixture & vanilla to blender and beat until well blended.

3. Remove hot skillet from oven and add butter. It will sizzle & melt quickly.

4. Pour batter into skillet quickly and place in oven. Bake for about 20 minutes until pancake is golden brown and puffy.

5. Sprinkle pancake with the sugar-lemon zest mixture.  Serve piping hot with slices of fresh peaches, lemon wedges to squeeze over pancake slices & additional raw sugar to top.

Dutch men named Wouter love Dutch Babys!

A little gallery of peaches:

“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”