Joni Woolf: the Georgia peach returns
Published 2:25 pm Saturday, June 22, 2019
Last Sunday after church I drove to Montezuma to check out Brown’s Market. I had heard of peaches being ready in other places (Dickey Farms in Musella, for one), but had not seen any local ones. I usually try to wait for the Elberta, though the Red Globe are good enough, and I often buy a few of those for preserves. On this day, there were peaches — not the largest, prettiest that were yet to come — but still, peaches. So, I bought a box full and brought them home, spread them out to ripen further, and pulled a few that seemed ripe enough and made a peach cobbler for my son-in-law. He did not complain.
However, I fear I was rushing the season a bit. I have made two batches of preserves, and they are OK — but they aren’t as dense, as pure, as substantive as the famed Elberta. Perhaps no other peach meets that standard. Still, they are peach preserves, and I’ve enjoyed them on a biscuit. I think I’ll wait for the Elberta, though, before I put that much effort into preserving the ultimate Georgia fruit.
I tried a new cobbler recipe for the son-in-law, and it turned out OK — not the grandest I’ve ever done, but certainly adequate. (With Elberta, it would have been perfect). This recipe came from Macon’s Junior League cookbook, Gracious Goodness, published in the 1980s, a book that I refer to, still, for recipes that stand the test of time. This one is easy. And good.
Lattice Peach Cobbler
1 quart sliced peaches
¾ to 1 cup sugar (I used ¾)
½ cup butter
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
½ scant cup shortening (I used Crisco)
5-6 tablespoons ice water
Combine peaches, sugar and butter in 1½ quart saucepan. Cook slowly, stirring until peaches are tender and syrup begins to thicken. To make pastry, sift flour and salt together and cut in shortening until it is a coarse crumb mixture. Work quickly. Add ice water, a tablespoon at a time until you have a soft pastry (I used all six tablespoons.) Roll on floured pastry cloth or floured parchment paper until 1/8” thick. Cut into strips. Lay ½ of strips in bottom of a lightly buttered deep cobbler dish in lattice weave design. Pour peach mixture on top of lattice and top filling with remaining woven pastry strips. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees F. until golden brown and bubbly. Top with vanilla ice cream.
In past columns, we have featured combinations of peaches and blueberries in baked desserts, but this one is different. It is also so simple that success is guaranteed. And though it does not call for an ice cream topping, I think one is justified. (I like ice cream.)
Peach Blueberry Crisp
10 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
Combine peaches, blueberries, sugar, and cinnamon. Spread mixture in greased 13x9x2” baking pan. Combine flour, brown sugar, and salt. Cut in margarine until crumb consistency. Sprinkle mixture on fruit. Bake at 350 degrees F. for one hour.
Frozen desserts are a real treat on a hot summer day. Try this easy sorbet when the weather is too warm to enjoy a dessert that has spent the last hour in a hot oven.
Slice 5 ripe peaches and put in freezer long enough to freeze (or use 1 12-oz. package frozen peaches)
2 tablespoons peach brandy
1 teaspoon sugar
Thaw the peaches partially and put in top of blender. Add the brandy and sugar. Blend until smooth. Pour into mold or plastic container and freeze. Makes about 1 pint. You may want to double this recipe for serving more than two people.
Joni Woolf, a writer and editor, now lives in Schley County, having moved from her home in Macon several years ago. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org