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Peach Crisp

METRO photo

By Barbara Beltrami

They’re here! Grab one and bite into it. Let the juice run down your chin, down your arm and onto your shirt. If it’s a good peach, who cares? If it’s not, you’ve wasted your money and made an unnecessary mess. And in my experience there’s no way of knowing whether it will be succulent and delicious or taste like a raw potato. It’s also been my experience that a peach’s quality has nothing to do with its price. 

I’ve bought peaches that are all rosy and perfect looking in green quart baskets at local farm stands and paid a handsome price for them only to have them go furry on me before they’re even ripened, and I’ve bought peaches on sale  at the supermarket that are not so rosy and are hard as rocks and had them ripen and taste wonderful. It’s really anybody’s guess what the variable is.  

The only thing I can say is that one should never ever buy a peach with any blemish whatsoever because it will not end well. You’ll ultimately  have to salvage parts of that peach that have not started to rot and cook them up to go with a nice dish of vanilla ice cream. Should you have to do that, here are a few recipes to try.

Peach Tart

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings


1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

7 tablespoons butter, softened

1 large egg

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons apricot jam

4 medium peaches, cut into 1/2” wedges

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting


Place oven rack in lower third of oven, then preheat oven to 375 F. In a food processor combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and butter. Pulse a few times to blend, then add the egg and egg yolk and pulse just until a soft dough forms; turn the dough out onto a pastry board and knead until it all comes together. Press the dough onto the bottom and sides of a 10 1/2” fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. 

Spread the quarter cup jam over the bottom crust, then arrange peaches in concentric circles on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is a light golden color and peaches are still a little hard; spread the remaining two tablespoons jam over the peaches and return tart to oven and bake for 25-30 minutes more, until crust is a nice golden color and peaches are tender.

Let cool about 30 minutes, then dust with confectioners’ sugar, remove from pan and serve warm with creme fraiche. 

Peachy Barbecue Sauce

YIELD: Makes about 2 cups


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large shallot, diced

One 3” piece ginger, peeled and diced

3/4 pound peeled, pitted and diced fresh peaches

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes


In a medium saucepan over high heat, warm the oil, then add the shallot and ginger; stirring often, cook until shallot is soft, about 3-5 minutes; add peaches, vinegar, brown sugar, salt and pepper, and hot pepper flakes; stir and bring to a simmer, lower heat and maintain a gentle simmer until the peaches are very soft, about 25-30 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the sauce until it reaches desired consistency, then use to baste ribs, chicken or pork and serve with corn on the cob.

Peach Crisp

YIELD: Makes 6 servings


3 pounds fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, diced

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup rolled or quick oats

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Pinch salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter


Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter a 9” square baking dish. Arrange peaches evenly in baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and butter. Mix until it achieves a crumbly consistency; sprinkle over peaches; bake until golden brown and crispy on top, about 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. 

Peach Dumplings

By Barbara Beltrami

You know it’s really summer when the pyramids of peaches instead of apples greet you at the supermarket. You know it’s summer when you bite into a peach and the juice runs down your chin and forearm and you don’t even care. It’s when dessert is peach dumplings or peach crisp that you’ve baked early in the morning before the kitchen got too hot or you decided you’d really rather just lie in the shade or by the pool and read and nap. So get up with the birds this week, get those peachy desserts in the oven and stay tuned for next week’s column, Peachy Peaches Part II.

Peach Dumplings

Peach Dumplings

YIELD: Makes 6 servings


Pastry for two-crust pie

6 just ripe medium freestone peaches

6 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed

DIRECTIONS: Make pie pastry, form into a ball, seal in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Meanwhile, pare peaches and be careful to keep peaches as whole as possible. With the tip of a small sharp knife, cut down from stem end of peach into peach and cut around pit to remove it. Fill each cavity left by pit with one tablespoon sugar and one tablespoon butter. Remove pastry from refrigerator and on a lightly floured surface, roll the ball into a 10-inch by 15-inch rectangle, about one-eighth-inch thick. Cut into 6 equal squares. Place a peach on each square; mold pastry around it until peach is completely covered. Place pastry-covered peaches in a deep baking dish and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 F. In saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar with half a cup of water and, stirring constantly, cook 5 minutes. Spoon syrup over each dumpling. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F and, basting with syrup 2 or 3 times, bake 30 to 40 minutes more, until crust is light golden and a sharp knife inserted into peach meets no resistance. Serve at room temperature or warm with whipped cream, vanilla or peach ice cream.

Peach Crisp

Peach Crisp

YIELD: Makes 6 servings


2½ pounds ripe peaches

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1 stick soft unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease an 8- by 8- by 2-inch baking dish. Wash peaches; pare, if desired; remove pits. Slice peaches into prepared baking dish. Sift flour with sugar, salt, and cinnamon into medium bowl. With pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle evenly over peaches. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until topping is crisp and golden and peaches are bubbly and tender. Serve with heavy cream or vanilla ice cream.