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Desserts are just peachy

Ralph Daily, Wikimedia Commons

Homemade peach cobbler with homemade peach ice cream will bring smiles to the table.


June 21 was National Peaches and Cream Day. My way of thinking is that every day fresh peaches are available should be a celebration.

My favorite way to eat peaches is to just bite into a fresh, ripe one. It can be a challenge sometimes, to find such a peach. Farmers markets are good places to look, and once in a while, grocery stores have sweet, ripe peaches, but it is a hit or miss process.

Recently, I bought four peaches at the store just to try. They were delicious, so the next time I went shopping, I bought a lot more. They were terrible; not a hint of flavor or sweetness and crunchier than most apples.

I hope you are able to find a good source for some ripe, sweet peaches. If you can’t, canned peaches can work out quite well.

Peach ice cream

I am not sure why the instructions for this recipe were written the way they were, but it works.

1 1/2 pounds very ripe peaches

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons vanilla

About 2/3 cup sugar

2 cups half-and-half

1. Peel peaches, then pit and slice them. In a food processor or blender, puree 2/3 of the peaches with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, vanilla and 1/3 cup sugar. Pour into a large bowl, add half-and-half, and nest bowl in ice water; stir often until cold, 10 to 15 minutes. Or cover and chill until cold, about 1 hour.

2. In a bowl, with a potato masher or fork, coarsely mash remaining peaches with 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar. Set container in ice water and stir often until cold, about 5 minutes. Add to half-and-half mixture; taste, and add more sugar if desired.

3. Pour chilled mixture into a 1-quart (or larger) ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions until mixture is firm enough to scoop, dasher is hard to turn, or machine stops.

4. Serve ice cream softly frozen, or package airtight and freeze up to 1 week; let stand at room temperature 10 to 20 minutes to soften for scooping. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Peach cobbler

10 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced into wedges

1/2 cup walnut or pecan halves (optional; I leave those out)

1/4 cup white granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

For the topping:

1 cup flour

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1/4 cup boiling water

Cinnamon sugar: 3 tablespoons white sugar and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, combined

1. Preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl, combine peaches, nuts (if using), sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly and pour into a 2-quart baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.

2. Prepare the topping while the fruit is baking. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugars, baking powder and salt. Blend in butter with fingertips or a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal.

3. Stir in the boiling water until just combined (do not over-mix). The crumbs will puff up into a thick doughy topping. Drop spoonfuls of topping over the baked peaches. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar evenly over the top. Bake until topping is golden, about 15 minutes. Lift part of it to check underneath to make sure it is done.

4. Serve warm from the oven or at room temperature. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if you wish.

Peaches and cream salad

1 box (5.1-oz.) instant vanilla pudding

1 container (32-oz.) vanilla yogurt

1 container (8-oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed

6 large ripe peaches, peeled and chopped

1. In a large bowl, combine the pudding mix and vanilla yogurt, stirring until well mixed.

2. Fold whipped topping into the mixture.

3. Fold in the chopped peaches. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Makes about 10 servings.

Peaches and cream cheesecake bars

For bars:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 can (21-oz.) peach pie filling

For cheesecake layer:

1 package (8-oz.) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

For glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon almond extract

1. For bars: Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.

3. In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt. Slowly add to the wet mixture until just combined.

4. Take half the batter and spread it into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Set aside.

5. For cheesecake layer: In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar together. Add vanilla and egg and mix thoroughly.

6. Spread evenly over the batter, then spread peach pie filling over the cheesecake layer.

7. Drop remaining batter over pie filling. (It will spread as it bakes, so don’t worry if it doesn’t cover every bit of filling.)

8. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is light golden brown. Cool completely.

9. For glaze: Once the baked mixture is completely cooled, mix together glaze ingredients and drizzle over the top. Cut into bars and serve. Makes 9 to 12 bars.



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