It’s peach season here in New Jersey, and I can’t seem to get enough of these decadent morsels of fruit. I have seriously been devouring peaches to the disgustingly ridiculous degree of ad nauseam. But it’s such a fleeting season and shortly thereafter summer also ends. To get your hands on these little gems is like capturing the last chance ranch of summer – although the Jersey tomatoes and white Silver Queen corn linger on. So by ferociously holding onto this nectar of the gods, I am indeed prolonging the essence of summer. There’s nothing like the juice of a sugar-laden peach dripping down my face and onto my hands. I cherish each sticky drop and lick my fingers thoroughly.
Of course, there are many things you can do with a peach besides peach eating contests. I’ve just recently had the pleasure of learning how to can them with my friends Kitty and Kathy, but that’s another story for another day. What an experience! And a lot of work! But look at the fruits of our labor. You really want to lick that spoon, don’t you? Am I right?!?
You can grill them up with a splash of balsamic vinegar and fresh basil as a sweet and sour side dish or bake them sliced on top of chicken breast with a touch of garlic powder, salt, pepper and olive oil. So many uses – so little time. This is my all-time FAVORITE peach crumb cake recipe. Get it right, and you’ll be in heaven. I’m not even kidding – it’s that good (if I do say so myself). Add a blob of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, and you’re good to go.
3 cups flour
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup shortening
Mix with pastry cutter until crumbly (don’t over mix). Divide in half and pat ½ the dough into a 9 x 13 greased pan. (I use a round Pampered Chef pan I’ve had for years.)
4 cups fresh peaches
(Boil for five minutes, run cold water over them and peel immediately. Skin will come off like a charm, then you just pit and slice.)
1 tbsp. lemon juice (fresh squeezed is awesome)
1 cup sugar
3 tsp. cornstarch
(You can also mix in a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg for a little spicy flavor if you want, but I like it plain.)
Spoon peach mixture over dough in pan. Crumble remaining dough on top.
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 – 55 minutes until lightly browned.
I’ve also made this recipe with fresh blueberries, apples and strawberries. Or you can do a fruit mix like blueberries and peaches. YUM! Nothing like it! I can see you drooling!
Whichever way you choose, get out to your local farm markets and buy a bushel of peaches before they’re gone. Be creative in their many uses and just enjoy the gifts of God’s summer bounty!