Fresh peaches . . . we anticipate their summer arrival all year!
Although they’ve been in season since June, we waited this year for the later ‘freestone’ variety that we prefer. This is the variety of peach that the pit can be more easily removed versus the ‘clingstone’ peach that has pits that are more difficult to pull out.
The only way that we purchase our peaches is directly from one of the hundreds of fruit stands dotting the highways that have their own peach orchards. We’ve just found that peaches sold in grocery stores are simply too green and unripe for our preference or patience level.
A quaint little fruit stand along the highway . . . nothing fancy, but so much fun!
Enjoying some shade on a hot summer day while drooling over the peaches for sale!
In the Midwest where we’re originally from, we would buy our summer peaches from a roadside stand owned by a man who would drive to Missouri where he would get perfectly vine-ripened peaches for his stand; once he loaded up his pickup truck, he would immediately turn around and drive right back to his fruit stand in Iowa to sell this perfectly ripe, sweet fruit.
We’re luckier in South Carolina where the peach stands have close access to the fruit orchards. Peaches are one of South Carolina’s summer specialties and so there are literally bushels of them sold everywhere throughout the summer. And here’s a little known trivia FACT that you may not know: South Carolina produces more peaches than any other state in the U.S., and that includes Georgia, which adopted the slogan, The Peach State (S.C. is called The Palmetto State, but that’s a true and historic, yet different story for a later time).
Simply mixed with sugar, peaches create their own thick juices! This is what we spoon over the top of our Sunday pancakes (no need for maple syrup!), or a slice of buttery pound cake, or a hefty scoop of vanilla ice cream. And don’t forget one last simple way to use these beauties: peach ice cream!
Two of our family’s favorite recipes for peaches are Peach Melba and Peach Cobbler. So let’s get our aprons on and get down to some peach cookin’!
First on the dessert menu is a simple South Carolina Peach Cobbler (as entitled in the August ’98 issue of “Taste of Home” magazine). This recipe has been circulating among Southern cooks for years, long before any famous TV cooks prepared it. At first, this recipe will seem very unusual to you if you are reading it for the first time. You ‘dump’ the peaches on top of the cobbler batter and the peaches ‘sink’ to the bottom during baking. It sounds weird, but it works! This process results in a creamy, custard-y filling that the peaches float around in underneath the chewy cobbler crust.
We made a major adjustment to the recipe clipped from the magazine by doubling the dry ingredients so it is not as soggy as it is when prepared according to the magazine’s version. We’re just not into peach mush. The recipe that I have posted has all of the adjustments already made for you.
a golden brown cobbler crust forms (above) during the baking process,
while the peaches sink to the bottom
a custardy filling forms inside
South Carolina Peach Cobbler
Cuisine: Southern U.S.A.
- For the peaches, you need:
- 6 cups sliced and peeled fresh peaches (not 4 cups as in the original recipe)
- ½ cup sugar for the peaches
- ⅓ tsp almond extract
- For the cobbler, you need:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 cups flour
- 2 Tbsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ cup whole milk (or you can also use fat-free milk combined with cream)
- and lastly, you need
- ½ cup butter, melted
- In a large bowl, gently toss the peaches with 1 cup of sugar and the almond extract. Set aside.
- Pour the ½ cup of melted butter into a 2-quart baking dish.
- In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and milk. Mix well.
- Pour this batter evenly over the butter -- DO NOT STIR.
- Top with the peaches.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 50 - 55 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream.
I hope that you enjoy this super easy, super fresh, summer peach dessert. I’ll write a separate post for Peach Melba after we devour this dish first!