My grandmother had an orchard, just a small one that grandpa made when he retired. I miss going in there so much; it had high fences like a well-kept family treasure and when the peaches came it was magical. With a whole day free, we would get on ladders and pluck baskets full of ripe warm peaches in the morning sun. It was heaven; they were so beautiful with that heady fragrance and spectacular sunset colors. Once blanched they were even more magnificent, glistening with their fuzzy skins removed, ready for production. Pies were our favorite and we would make as many as we could with perky lattice top crusts. They freeze very successfully, perfect after a lazy Sunday dinner or as a take-along there is no more welcomed gift.
Some of the other things we do with peaches now would have never entered my grandmother’s mind, but the passion she fostered in me for those fuzzy little symbols of summer has endured. I don’t have an orchard of my own yet, but I know I will one day. When the season hits - and it just did!! I get them from our local Farmer’s Market. We do a Warm Peach and Berry Cobbler that people never forget, and a salad that just screams summer. Peaches also make the lordly strawberry humble with a golden Praline Pecan Shortcake topped with whipped cream and garnished with golden raspberries. We do a beautiful, chilled soup with oranges and peaches that is just lovely. There are so many sweet and savory dishes peaches inspire; no summer is complete without a Sangria! Grilled Peach Salsa can be chopped and tossed together while a well-seasoned Tri Tip is reaching perfection on the BBQ. Peaches compliment poultry or swordfish as well. Let’s not let these little gifts from Mother Nature go uncherished this season; I’ll see you at the Market!
Lynette La Mere, Executive Chef, Pure Joy Catering
Pure Joy Sangria
We also do specialty Sangrias using the following recipe with variations like strawberries with rose and raspberries with Sauvignon blanc
3 bottles red or white wine 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice ¾ cup grand marnier, cointreau or brandy 6 tbl. sugar 1 diced whole unpeeled orange, lemon, green apple & 2 peaches just before serving: 3 cups pellegrino or club soda.
Whisk the sugar into the orange juice to dissolve then add the rest. Refrigerate 24 hours. Before serving add 3 cups pellegrino or club soda.
Mixed Greens Salad with Peaches, Gorgonzola and Toasted Almonds Dressing: Juice of 2 limes Juice of 1 orange 1/ 4 cup almond, hazelnut or walnut oil 1/ 2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper
Slowly whisk the oil into the juices. Add the salt and pepper.
Salad: 1/ 4 cup sliced almonds 4 medium peaches 8 cups mixed greens; red leaf, oak leaf, romaine, spinach, arugula, etc., cleaned and torn 3 oz Gorgonzola, crumbled
Lightly toast almonds by baking on sheet pan 5 minutes 350 degrees. Flash-blanch the peaches (as written above). Peel and cut into ¼ inch slices. In a small bowl, combine dressing and peaches and marinate for ten minutes. Distribute greens on individual salad plates. Arrange the peach slices like the spokes of a wheel on each mound of greens. Drizzle the dressing over the peaches and sprinkle each spoke with Gorgonzola and almonds.
Praline Pecan Shortcake with Peaches You can blanch the peaches for this if you like.
Shortcake: 2 cups all purpose flour 1/ 3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar 1 Tb. baking powder 1/ 2 tsp. salt 1/ 2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut up 1/ 2 cup chopped toasted pecans 1/ 2 cup cold milk 1 large egg
Glaze: 2 t. heavy or whipping cream 1/ 4 t. cinnamon 2 t. sugar
Filling: 6 medium peaches, sliced 1/ 3 cup sugar 1 Tb. fresh lemon juice
Whipped Cream: 1 1/ 2 cups heavy or whipping cream 2 Tb. sugar 1 tsp. vanilla 1 Tb. bourbon
Garnish: Golden raspberries
Make the shortcake:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly butter a large cookie sheet. Combine the dry ingredients, cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until it resembles fine crumbs. Beat milk and egg together and toss with a fork into the dry mixture. On a floured surface knead the dough together gently. Do not overwork it or it will be tough. Sprinkle a bit more flour on your surface and, roll out the shortcake dough to about ¾ inch thick. Cut into 8 rounds. Gather and re-roll the scraps. Brush the little cakes to glaze them, with cream and sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon.
Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes.
Make filling: Toss the peach slices with lemon juice and sugar.
Make whipped cream: beat cream, sugar, vanilla and bourbon in a mixer bowl on high speed until soft peaks form.
To assemble: Split shortcakes. Spoon peaches over one half and top with whipped cream and the top of the cake. Garnish with remaining cream and berries.
California Orange Soup with Fresh Peaches The vibrant color and refreshing flavors in this make it perfect for a summer luncheon with fresh watercress and chicken sandwiches, or serve it in a goblet with crisp molasses or sugar cookies for dessert on a warm evening.
4 1/ 2 cups fresh orange juice 1 cup fresh lemon juice 2 Tb. sugar 2 Tb. quick cooking tapioca dash of salt 2 cinnamon sticks 4 cups fresh peaches, blanched, peeled and sliced 1 cup sugar 1/ 4 cup flour 1/ 4 tsp. ground cinnamon 2 or 3 oranges 1/ 4 cup orange liqueur (if serving as a dessert)
Optional garnish: Crème Fraiche (or sour cream) 1/ 2 pint fresh raspberries
Combine first five ingredients in a saucepan. Let stand 5 minutes. Add cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil, simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Combine peaches, sugar, flour, and ground cinnamon. Add to the pan and simmer another 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Remove from heat and cool.
Cut the peel and pith off the oranges, and then cut out the sections leaving the membrane behind. Add the orange sections to the cooled soup with the liqueur, if using. Remove cinnamon sticks and chill well.
To serve, ladle into chilled soup cups or goblets and garnish with crème fraiche and raspberries. Can be prepared a day ahead.
Grilled Peach Salsa Serve this with Tri Tip or over grilled chicken, lamb chops, or flank steak slices.
2 lb. ripe peaches (5 or 6), halved, pits removed olive oil
2 jalapeno peppers 1/ 2 red onion, sliced thickly 1 red bell pepper 1/ 4 cup tightly packed cilantro 2 Tb. balsamic vinegar salt and pepper to taste
Brush the peaches with olive oil and put cut side down on heated grill or grill pan. Grill until peaches begin to soften, brush with oil and turn over with tongs. Grill until they begin to fill with their own juices. Let cool.
Grill the jalapenos until charred. Brush onion slices with olive oil and grill until golden. Remove the seeds and charred skin on the jalapenos and finely dice.
Remove skin from peaches and dice them. Peel, seed and dice the red pepper. Toss with the other ingredients and serve within two or three hours.
Spicy Peach Glazed Chicken This glaze is great on cornish game hens and whole chickens as well. Bake or grill with equal success. Glaze keeps refrigerated up to two weeks.
Glaze: 1 cup good quality peach jam 1 large garlic clove, minced 2 Tb. olive oil 1 1 /2 Tb. soy sauce 1 Tb. dijon mustard pinch cayenne pepper 1 tsp. salt 1 /4 tsp. pepper
3 fresh peaches, halved, pits removed 6 boneless chicken breast halves
Combine all the glaze ingredients. Brush peaches first and then the chicken with olive oil and grill them both in batches on a hot grill pan or over medium hot coals. When breasts are seared on the first side, flip them over and brush with the glaze several times as they finish cooking through. Serve with the grilled peaches.
Perfect Peach Pie I know, I know, everything says butter in the crust, but my grandmother used crisco and it was excellent, rich and flaky and golden even on the bottom. Your call; butter is awesome too, I also LOVE virgin coconut oil. The trick is to bake it on a regular metal pan; not glass, in a nice hot oven on the bottom shelf and then, once out, let it rest and cool for 2 or 3 hours before serving.
Crusts: 2 cups all-purpose flour 5.3 oz butter 1/ 2 tsp. salt 1 Tbl. sugar Approx. 3 oz. cold milk
Peach Filling: 10 peaches/ 2.75 lb. (to make 5 cups of blanched and sliced peaches) directions follow 1/ 2 cup sugar 2 1/ 2 Tb. flour dash of salt optional spices;
1/ 4 tsp. ground allspice 1/ 2 tsp cinnamon grating of nutmeg
+bit of milk & sugar on the top
Flash-blanching peaches is a wonderful ritual just for the smell alone. Bring a large pot of water to boil and plop in your ripe peaches. Now count slowly to thirty while you put a bowl of ice water together in the sink. Lift the peaches out of the pot with a slotted spoon and plop into the ice bath; let them cool a minute, then the skins will slip right off.
The secret to a perfect crust is to not over handle the dough, I still cringe when I see people patting and shoving and rolling it over and over. Put the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and work in the cold butter with your fingers or pulse in a food processor. Add the milk as needed to combine the ingredients and just bring them together. On a well-floured surface roll out the smaller half with a firm push of a rolling pin to about an 1 /8 of an inch thick. With a thin spatula, lift one side and flop it over your pin, then gently roll the dough around the pin to transfer it to the pie shell, if it tears you can mend it with a bit of milk. Trim the excess around the outside rim with a butter knife or scissors. Set in the frig.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Slice the blanched peaches into a bowl and toss with the sugar, flour and spices. Pour filling into the bottom crust. Re-flour your surface and roll out the remaining dough, brush the top crust with milk then sprinkle generously with sugar before cutting the lattice strips or do a straightforward top crust with a center steam hole cut in. Brush the rim or the bottom crust with milk to adhere the top crust. Lattice tops are not hard to make, with practice even children can do them, just start on one side with a strip going each way and gently fold over alternating strips as you place on the next, when covered, either way, crimp the edges to seal.
Peaches are juicy, I prepare for the inevitable dripping lining a sheet pan with a sheet of foil, then I top that with a rack and place the pie on top of that, makes fro pretty easy clean up. Bake on the bottom shelf of the hot oven for 50 to 55 minutes until deep golden. Remove and let the pie rest & thicken several hours.
Or…have us make it for your next event. We cook everything from scratch with love just like you would so you can relax & enjoy your celebration. Give us a call at 805 963 5766 anytime, we’d love to help.
Lynette La Mere, Pure Joy Catering Executive Chef