Showing posts with label fresh peaches. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fresh peaches. Show all posts

Friday, September 9, 2016

Peach Cheesecake

You may have noticed that cooking falls somewhere between a science and an art. There are those home cooks who follow recipes religiously (that’s my husband), and others who start with a recipe and then follow their nose and their tongue until a dish tastes “right” to them (that’s me, and possibly my daughter).

This year’s peach crop in Massachusetts didn’t happen, thanks to a March cold snap and frost (that also did in my apple crop). At our local farmers market in late August, my favorite vendor had one small basket of peaches, which she admitted came from New York state (allowable if the local crop has failed). I hadn’t eaten one all summer, and oh, these smelled wonderful!

I bought only two, and not until I laid hands on one perfect ripe peach and had a vision of a recipe—lovely peach halves embedded in cheesecake, on a short crust with maybe a dash of almond flavor. I could see it, almost taste it.

And then I went looking for a recipe, and I couldn’t find one. Oh, there are plenty of peach cheesecake recipes, but in most of those the peaches are sliced or diced or pureed. Or the cook substituted peach jelly. That was NOT what I wanted. So here we go again, as I lead you into the unknown, to find my very own recipe for Peach Cheesecake.

Peach Cheesecake
Peel and halve two perfect ripe peaches (you do know the trick about dipping them in boiling water for less than a minute, then tossing them in ice water? The skin slips right off neatly.)

The Crust

2 cups flour (if you have almond flour, you can substitute that for some of the regular flour)
2 Tblsp butter
1 Tblsp vegetable oil
3 Tblsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix the ingredients together (by hand or in a food processor) until they look like coarse sand. Grease a 10-inch springform pan.

Press the crust mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until it just begins to brown. Remove from oven and prepare the filling.

The Filling

1 package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream or yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 Tblsp cornstarch
Pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

With a mixer or blender, mix the ingredients together until they are smooth (be patient—the cream cheese can be lumpy).

Lay the peach halves on the baked crust. Pour the filling over them.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the middle stops wiggling and the edges are slightly brown.

Turn off the oven and open the door a crack. Let the cheesecake sit for five minutes to begin cooling. Then remove from the oven and cool completely. When it is cool, place in the refrigerator. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before opening the springform pan.

I thought about calling it a Peach Surprise Cheesecake, because the peaches are hiding beneath the filling until you cut into it, and then there they are, a perfect peach profile.

There are no peaches in Seeds of Deception, arriving October 4th. In fact, there are no apples either: it takes place in winter. But there is an orchard (at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello) and a body and a solution to a crime that has deep roots.

Find it for pre-order at Amazon (where at the moment it's on sale for $6.79) and Barnes and Noble.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mrs. Donahey's Peach Shortcake

by Sheila Connolly

I should not be allowed out of the house, because I keep coming back with books. And I can’t seem to clear any space for the new ones. I’ve got four large boxes of books I'm planning to take to the library, and there’s still no room. Therefore I buy more, to soothe the pain of loss.

Last week I went to the Brimfield Antiques Fair, which is huge. It’s halfway across the state from where I live—but it takes only a bit over an hour to get there, in part along the Massachusetts Turnpike. A few years ago, the rest stops on the Mass Pike decided to allow farmers to sell their wares on their sites. While it’s a bit late for most crops this year, I did come upon one orchard vendor, offering the last of the summer peaches and the first of the fall apples. No surprise, I bought both.

And then I went on my way to Brimfield, where I acquired…more books. (And a delightful antique apple peeler, but I’ll save that for another day.) One of my finds was The Calorie Cook Book by Mary Dickerson Donahey, with a copyright date of 1923. Who knew they were worried about calorie counting then?

The charming Mrs. Donahey opens her book with a chapter titled “Remarks—Pertinent and Impertinent” and says, “This book has been made for the use of those people who wish to eat properly and really don’t know how.” Think things have improved since 1923?

I’ll admit that many of her points make sense, even from today’s perspective, and at least she doesn’t pretend to be a scientist or a food expert. Things fall apart just a wee bit when she starts providing “Reducing Menus” for each day of the week, by season. The portions are tiny, especially the breakfasts. I mean, “5 dates or 15 raisins, 2 soda crackers, and clear coffee?” Another breakfast is made up of “a full glass of whole milk.” That’s all.

I think the lovely lady really gave herself away when she included a substantial section on desserts. Thirty-three pages worth, in fact.

Clearly my peaches were clamoring to be used first (although I’ll miss the wonderful aroma that perfumed my kitchen). Mrs. Donahey kindly provides a recipe for Peach Short Cake (1580 calories—and she doesn’t say how many people this may serve. Uh-huh.)

Mrs. Donahey’s Peach Short Cake (updated for modern conveniences)

1-1/2 cups flour
1 Tblsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt
1-1/2 tsp shortening
1/2 cup milk
7 medium-sized peaches (make sure they’re nice and ripe)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tblsp butter

Peel the peaches, remove the pits, and slice. [Note: mine were delicious! Just the right stage of ripeness, and very sweet.] Sprinkle with the powdered sugar as soon as they are cut. [Mrs. Donahey notes that the peaches may discolor if they sit too long, so you might want to add a little lemon juice to prevent this.]

Sift the dry ingredients together and rub in the shortening with the finger tips (substitute: food processor). Add the milk (if the mixture is not moist enough, add a little more).

Roll out the dough and bake as a single round cake or individual small ones.
Mrs. Donahey didn’t give a temperature, but she admitted using the Boston Cooking School Cookbook (aka Fannie Farmer) as one of her references, so I checked my aged copy: 450 degrees for 12 minutes.

Mrs. Donahey told us to split the cake(s) carefully and butter each half. I decided to try the Fannie Farmer strategy: melt the butter, brush the top of one cake with it, then put a second cake on top. It worked! And this method ensured that the shortcakes don’t dry out too much in baking.

Split your cakes, put one half in the bottom of a bowl, add a layer of peaches, lay the other half on top and add more peaches. (Being self-indulgent, I added sweetened whipped cream.)

The same recipe will work well for strawberries, raspberries or huckleberries.

Taking a quick look at the lady’s spectrum of “reducing” recipes, for most days she allows between 1200 and 1300 calories, total. I suppose that means you may have a very small serving of shortcake, like a tablespoon. I had a wee bit more.

To quote Mrs. Donahey, “Self control! That is the base of it all.”

Coming October 7th! Just in time for the apple harvest, which has already begun in Massachusetts (and will go on until November).

Available for preorder now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cleo Coyle's Drunken Peaches with fresh Ginger-Infused Whipped Cream

Cleo Coyle is author of the
bestselling Coffeehouse Mysteries
and Haunted Bookshop Mysteries
Learn more by clicking here.
As a little girl, growing up in a large Italian-American family, I remember aunts and uncles making good use of peaches that came in during the last days of summer. Whether perfectly sun-kissed or overripe and bruised, all were welcomed at their tables.

hey would peel the skins and cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces, taking care to remove any darkened or rotted areas from the imperfect fruits. Then they would place the pieces in a bowl, cover them with red wine, and chill the bowl for a few hours or even overnight. After dinner, they would serve the fruit in a pretty wine glass or dessert cup with whipped cream, ice cream, or (even better) a dollop of sweetened mascarpone cheese. And that should be that: an extremely easy end-of-summer recipe—except for one thing...

Although I absolutely love this dessert, my husband, who is not a big wine drinker, does not. So while I’m getting my peaches good and drunk, I treat my honey’s peaches with…well, honey. Orange blossom honey to be exact. And that’s my alternate recipe suggestion for you today. Toss those bite-sized peach pieces with a bit of honey, spoon them into a wine goblet, chill and serve with ginger-infused whipped cream.

Both of these simple but delicious recipes are below if you’d like them while the sun is still warm and the peaches are still cheap. La dolce vita!

Just one final, strawberry-flavored note for you. The other day, one of the many supportive followers of this blog (Nicole), let me know (via Facebook) that she tried my homemade Strawberry Syrup recipe. If you missed that recipe, just click here to download it.

At the stage where nothing is left in the strainer but strawberry pulp, Nicole had a Eureka! moment. "Why throw out the pulp?" she wondered. Instead, to quote her: "I let it cool and then folded it into softened vanilla ice cream. I was very surprised at how well it turned out. All of the juice was out of the strawberries so the ice cream set up nicely." Nicole re-froze the ice cream and sampled it. How did it taste? Good. So there you have it. Waste not! Instead of throwing out the pulp, fold it into your ice cream. Thanks, Nicole. And now...

Cleo Coyle’s
Drunken Peaches

Serves 4

4 ripe yellow peaches
1 cup red wine * (see my note)

Peel the peaches and cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces. Place in a shallow bowl or plastic container and cover with wine. Toss to coat. Chill for several hours or overnight. Loosely strain the peaches of excess wine, and serve in glass goblets with a dollop of whipped cream, a scoop of ice cream, or a generous helping of sweetened mascarpone cheese.

*Note on the wine. My pop used to cover his peaches with a fairly dry, red table wine, one he made himself. I don’t make my own wine. For this recipe, I like a nice (cherry, oaky) Merlot. You should choose a red wine that you’d enjoy drinking.

Cleo Coyle's
Honey-Kissed Peaches
with Ginger-infused Whipped Cream

Serves 4

4 ripe yellow peaches
4 tablespoons honey (I use orange blossom)
1 cup heavy cream

3-4 tablespoons granulated sugar (to your taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Peel the peaches and cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces. Toss with honey to coat. Spoon into glass goblets and chill for 30 minutes to an hour (no more). Serve with a dollop of ginger-infused whipped cream. To make the whipped cream, simply place the heavy cream, sugar, and ginger into a well-chilled bowl (*see my note) and beat with an electric hand-mixer. The cream will thicken as you beat it. When it forms stiff peaks, you're done. (Do not over-beat. You'll either begin breaking it down again or you'll make butter!)

*Note: Using a chilled bowl will speed up the process of whipping your cream. I use a metal bowl that's been in the refrigerator for at least 30 mintues. I'll also put my hand-mixer's beaters into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Honey-Kissed Peaches
with Ginger-Infused Whipped Cream

* * * *

If you like this recipe, check out my
Honey-Glazed Peach Crostata!
To see that recipe, click here and...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of 

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the
added bonus of recipes.

To get more of my recipes,
enter to win free coffee, or
learn about my books,
including my bestselling
Haunted Bookshop series,
visit my online coffeehouse:

Murder by Mocha

Now a national bestseller
from Penguin Books

For a peek at this culinary mystery's bonus chocolate recipes, click here!

"...a tasty espresso-dark tale of
multigenerational crime and
punishment lightened by the Blend's
frothy cast of lovable eccentrics."
~ Publishers Weekly

To order from Amazon, click here.
To order from Barnes and Noble click here.

 Roast Mortem

Includes firehouse recipes!
To see some of this culinary mystery's featured recipes, click here.

A Reviewer’s Pick 
Favorite Book of the Year ~ 2010
Now a national bestseller
in paperback from Penguin!

To order from Amazon click here.
To order from Barnes and Noble, click here.

Cleo's Haunted Bookshop

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of The Haunted Bookshop
, which
Cleo writes
 under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Magic Peach Cobbler

I am fascinated by oddball recipes that seem to work like magic. One of my favorite recipes for soup involves pouring boiling water over all the ingredients. So when I ran across Magic Peach Cobbler, I had to try it. I found variations on this recipe in Amish cooking, and lots of people claim a variation as their grandmother's favorite peach cobbler. Whatever the roots, it appears it has been around for a long time.

What makes it magic? You pour boiling water over the whole thing and via the magic of baking, it comes out as cobbler! The water magically transforms the dough and the peaches into exactly what they should be. It even leaves a little crunchy sugar on the top. Grandmas knew what was good! And if you're looking for an excuse to make Peach Cobbler -- National Peach month starts tomorrow!

I'm sure it has been mentioned here before, but it makes life so much easier that I'll say it again. Put on a pot of boiling water and slide your peaches in it for a couple of minutes to make peeling them soooo easy. You'll be amazed by how easily the peel slides off.

Magic Peach Cobbler

6-7 fresh peaches
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup boiling water

Lightly oil a 9 inch square baking tin and preheat over to 350.

Peel and slice the peaches. Sprinkle with lemon juice and turn once or twice.

Cream the butter with the sugar. Add the nutmeg, baking powder, and salt and beat well. Add the flour and beat. Add the vanilla and mix. The dough will be crumbly.

Mix the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup light brown sugar. Boil water.

Pour half the peaches into the baking pan. Crumble half the dough over top of them. Add the remaining peaches, and crumble the rest of the dough over top. Sprinkle with the sugar mixture. Pour the boiling water over the whole thing.

Bake at 350 for one hour.