Posts Tagged ‘Peaches’
On Thursday morning at 6 am sharp my family (or rather, my parents, my twin sister Lindsey and I) boarded a plane for San Fransisco. My family takes an annual pilgrimage to my grandparent’s house near Santa Barbara every summer, but this time we decided to stop by and stay with my older sister Melissa for a few days at her svelte new job with Google in Mountain View (ooh, ahh). Lindsey brought her camera and snapped some really cool (in my opinion) shots of where we went–including San Fransisco’s Alcatraz Prison, Ghiradelli Square and downtown area, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, as well as some shots of what we have called “Google Land.”
I think I’ve always romanticized California in the past, but it’s pretty hard not to considering my experience with it: constant sunshine and clear skies, fresh, juicy fruit on the side of the roads, grandparents who always, always have the cookie jar stocked (never anything but butter pecan Sandies and crisp gingerbread snaps), and going out to eat while spending time with family. It’s basically the most leisurely, most wonderful way to spend your time–and did I mention the weather? I feel like I haven’t even had a summer yet, what with the mid-60 degree weather and constant overcast that Washington consistently blesses its citizens with. Because of this, I haven’t gotten that into seasonal cooking which is a real shame because there is practically nothing better than eating the freshest fruits and vegetables of the summer (preferably by the beach while wearing a bikini, of course).
But here in California, it just feels right to have a salad with fresh tomatoes, avocados, olives and a simple vinaigrette for dinner, or a ripe nectarine for lunch by the pool. After arriving at my grandparents last night and seeing the mounds of fresh, ripe peaches on the counter, I decided to make simple peach shortcakes for dessert tonight. My sister was a little mad at me with this– she said I was silly for not putting them in something a little more show-offy, like a peach upside-down cake or a lattice-crust pie. But the way I saw it, is I just wanted something that messed with the peaches as little as possible, and just had something on the side complement them.
I think this recipe is a classic, a tender, buttery and light shortcake that is versitile and the perfect vessel for ripe, tasty fruit. The batch I made tasted a bit funny and stale, due to my grandparents flour that might in fact be ancient. Oh well, even if they tasted a bit off tonight, at least I know I have a recipe I can go back to if for a simple but classic shortcake.
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Amy’s Notes: You don’t have to peel the peaches if you don’t want to, but I think it’s nice. As Cook’s Illustrated instructed, if the peaches are firm enough to peel with a vegetable peeler, do that. If too juicy, submerge them in about 1 inch of simmering water and cover, for about 15 seconds or so. After that the skin should peel right off.
2 pounds ripe but firm peaches (4 to 5 medium), peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
6 tablespoons sugar (or adjust to the sweetness of the fruit)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup buttermilk, cold
1 large egg
8 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
For the fruit, gently toss three-quarters of peaches with 4 tablespoons sugar in large bowl. Let stand 30 minutes.
For the biscuits, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. While peaches macerate, whisk flour, baking powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, and salt in large bowl. Whisk together buttermilk and egg in medium bowl; add melted butter and stir until butter forms small clumps.
Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until dough comes together and no dry flour remains. Continue stirring vigorously for 30 seconds. Using greased 1/3 cup dry measure, scoop up mound of dough and drop onto parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet (if dough sticks to cup, use small spoon to pull it free). Repeat with remaining dough, spacing biscuits about 1 1/2 inches apart, to create 6 biscuits. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon sugar evenly over top of biscuits. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 15 minutes before assembling. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.