Just out the side entrance to the convent one steps directly into an orchard of fruit trees: peaches, nectarines and pears. Most of these trees were gifts to us back when the convent was being built, and what a gift they have been each year, providing us with beautiful fruit for eating, cooking, and preserving into different forms of gifts. Right now the peaches are at their peak, gorgeous to behold, and luscious to eat.
I have been longing to see some of them turned into a dessert. I love peach pie, peach cobbler or crumble, but my heart was set on something cool, light and summery, so I set about to make this happen. Here’s what came of my efforts which were quick and easy — just as I wanted them to be.
Summer Peaches and Cream Supreme
- Press one sheet of phyllo into 9 inch pie plate. Shape and crimp
edges to form a crust pour beans into shell and bake
according to directions on wrapper until golden brown. About 10 minutes. Remove and discard beans. Let cool completely.
- Into a medium saucepan cut up 6 peaches. Add ½ cup water, ½ cup sugar, juice of half a lemon and cook until it begins to thicken into a syrupy sauce. After 20 minutes (approx.) add zest, amaretto or extract. Let cool. Add the four remaining peaches, nicely sliced.
- Soften ice cream and spread half into cool shell. Spread a layer of peaches and syrup across this. Then spread remaining ice cream over peaches. Finally swirl remaining cool whip over entire top and freeze till serving time.
- Cut into wedges, spoon remaining peaches and sauce over each serving and sprinkle with toasted coconut.
Every year after school is out, our young community teenage girls have a 3-week “summer camp” with several of our Sisters. This year they went to New Hampshire for the event.
They were very excited and eagerly looking forward to the many activities ahead of them: lots of time out of doors, hiking, swimming, boating and gardening. I knew that nature crafts would be a part of their learning experiences, and also that there would be indoor activities such as housekeeping and of course, some cooking. I made them promise me that they would surprise me by making something new and different from any of their old standbys. They did not let me down, but kept their promise and came up with this scrumptious, raspberry peach upside down cake, inspired by a raspberry picking event that none of us knew would be happening before they went to camp. I could not have been more pleased!
Raspberry Peach Upside-down Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Slice peaches. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside.
- Place 6 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat until melted then add brown sugar and cook until both are combined and melted, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Approximately 8-10 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Arrange peach slices in a circular pattern (overlapping if needed) in skillet on top of sugar. Add raspberries in areas not covered with peaches. Set aside.
- Cream together vanilla, 6 tablespoons butter and 1 cup sugar until creamy. Add eggs and beat until the yellow disappears. Add sour cream and blend.
- On low speed, add flour mixture and beat just until combined stopping to scrape the sides a few times. Pour batter onto peaches and smooth out to the edges.
- Bake 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
- Run a knife around the edges to release and invert onto a cake plate allowing the cake to cool another 10 minutes.
Serve with fresh whipped cream.
What’s cool, fun, beautiful to look at, satisfying, refreshing, easy to eat, pleasing to young and old alike, simple to make, nutritious and delicious?
A smoothie of course! They have definitely established themselves in our normal everyday diet. No longer unusual as they originally were.
Recently a group of friends wanted to do a little something more than just give a gift to someone on their 60th birthday. This “someone”, having many friends and well wishes had already received a number of invitations to lunch, dinner, tea and coffee hours. What would be an appropriate way to enhance the giving of their gift? Aha! A “smoothie break”. Just right. Perfect in every way.
They knew their birthday girl loved fresh fruit so they arranged a beautiful basketful as a center piece. Then they blended up a tray full of assorted smoothies. For hers, they combined strawberries, bananas, mangoes and peaches, all her favorites. It was a tremendous success! She loved everything about it and made it very clear that it pleased her as much, if not more, than some of her more elaborate expressions of care. What a rewarding experience for all.
- Add ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.
- You will have to turn the blender on and off intermittently and stir to help the blending process.
- For variety: You can add any amount of yogurt, ice cream, mint, orange zest, honey or mint in any combination that you desire.
- Also fruit can be fresh if you prefer.
There is nothing like a hot fresh baked pie to warm the heart on a cold snowy winter night. So let’s have one for tonight’s dinner dessert and let’s make it simple and easy as possible. I can remember my mother often quickly and effortlessly mixing up a fruit pie just before dinner and serving it straight out of the oven as soon as we finished the main course. I seldom remember her making double crust pies with care crimped edges. More often than not, her pies were “open faced.” I always assumed she did them this way to save time, and perhaps that was her reason. However, years later I realized she was making a crostata even though she never called it that. I loved seeing the beautiful syrupy fruit bubbling up in the center of the perfectly golden crust. Now a days crostatas are popular. So tonight, let’s make the family happy with an easy to make old-world Peach Crostata.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- On a lightly floured surface, place one pie crust on top of the other and roll the stack into one 16 inch circle.
- Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Spread 1/4 cup of the preserves on the crust, leaving a 2 inch border.
- In a large bowl, toss the peaches, flour, lemon juice and 3 Tablespoons of the sugar.
- Transfer to the crust, leaving the border clear.
- Fold the edges of the crust over the fruit mixture.
- Brush the egg on the crust and sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon of sugar.
- Bake until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is tender, 50 to 60 minutes.
- In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons of preserves and 1 Tablespoon of water over medium heat until liquid, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Brush on the fruit.
- Serve warm.