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.


  1. I preordered this in June. I've never made a cheesecake like this. I think I'll make a trip to the farmers market Saturday.

  2. There are so many cheesecake recipes! It's confusing, but it's hard to go wrong with most of them. For this one I just wanted the peaches to stand out, since they were so pretty (and they were completely cooked in the baking, if anybody's worried). Hope you enjoy the book!

  3. that's so sad about your peaches and apples...I just bought my 3rd bushel of peaches yesterday. Gotta get busy eating.

  4. Yes, bad timing here. And now we have a drought. I can't wait to see what winter has in store for us!

    Years ago I was visiting my sister in Kentucky and we went to a local orchard for peaches. They were the size of softballs, and dripping with juice. That's become my gold standard.

  5. I love this recipe! Truly original and very clever. We haven't seen many pesches here, either, this year. : (

  6. How pretty and easy is that! We had a good crop of peaches in California, but they are now fading. Sigh. But I made peach sorbet this morning and it turned out great with somewhat wilted peaches! ~ Daryl

  7. This looks lovely and must taste fantastic!
    Daryl, peach sorbet sound great, too.

    1. The peach halves came out just the right consistency--not too hard, not too soft. Nice contrast with the filling. (Alas, it's all gone now--we ate it!)

  8. Oh that looks good.


  9. I love peaches. I'll have to try this one.