Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.
Fresh peaches are starting to appear in the produce sections and I thought having a guide to help you pick out the very best of the best will set you on the road to delicious.
Peaches have been grown in the United States since the Spaniards brought them to North America in their early explorations. They’ve played an integral part in making the fruit industry in Georgia, South Carolina and California as successful as has been (just check out the names of a lot of Atlanta streets to see what type of influence the peach has).
You should look for peaches that are unblemished and not too firm. Fresh peaches spoil quickly so don’t buy too many unless you’re going to use them. Peaches don’t get sweeter after they are picked so make sure get the ripest ones you can. If you need to peel your peaches (and you don’t have to, there’s bunches of good-for-you stuff in the skin), you should first blanch them in boiling water for about 1 minute and then drop them into ice water immediately to cool. The skin should come off easily. Just know that peaches will turn brown very quickly after they are cut so you should sprinkle them with lemon or lime juice if you aren’t going to use them immediately.
The phrase “peaches and cream” can literally mean eating “peaches” and “cream” together in a dish or pie or cake or whatever way your imagination (or taste buds) desire. The following recipes all combine peaches and some kind of cheese or cream (sometimes pareve) and every single one of them is going to make you say you’all come back and try it again real soon!
SUPER DUPER PEACHES AND CREAM PIE (dairy)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 (3 ounce) package non-instant vanilla pudding mix
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1 (29 ounce) can sliced peaches, drained and syrup reserved
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
Preheat oven to 350. Grease sides and bottom of a 10 inch deep-dish pie pan.
In a mixing bowl or a food processor combine flour, salt, baking powder and pudding mix. Process just to combine. Add the butter, egg and milk and process until combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie pan. Arrange the peach slices on top of the pudding mixture. Don’t clean the processer bowl. Put the cream cheese in the bowl and mix until fluffy. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons reserved peach syrup. Process until smooth.
Spoon the cream cheese mixture over peaches to within 1 inch of pan edge. Mix together 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle it over the top of the peaches. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. Chill completely before serving.
Modified from a recipe by Debbi Borsick, source unknown. Submitted by Tracey Malrick.
PEACHES AND CREAM BAKE (dairy or pareve)
1 lb French bread or challah egg bread, cut into chunks
8 large eggs
2 1/2 cups milk or half-and-half or non-dairy substitute
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 15-oz. cans sliced peaches packed in juice, drained
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Grease a 9X13 baking pan. Arrange the bread pieces so they fit tightly in the pan. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla and whisk to combine. Pour the liquid over the bread. Arrange peach slices on top of the mixture and sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
30 minutes before baking, take the pan from the refrigerater. Preheat oven to 350. Bake uncovered until the top is lightly browned and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Modified from about.com.
PEACHY CREAM CAKE (dairy)
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1 package cheesecake or vanilla instant pudding mix (3.4 ounce)
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1 large (about 28 oz) can sliced peaches, drained; save the juice
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10-inch deep dish pie plate. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, pudding, butter, egg and milk. Mix to combine. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the peach slices over the top of the batter. In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the cream cheese, sugar and 3 tablespoons peach juice and process for 2 minutes. Spread the topping over the top of the peaches, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top of the cream cheese mixture. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.
Submitted by Charlie Aronoes of New York, NY; original source unknown.
PEACHES AND CREAM CHICKEN SALAD (meat)
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
1 1/2 cups seedless red or green grapes, halved
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 fresh pineapple cut into tidbits
3 to 4 peaches, sliced
1 head of romaine lettuce, shredded
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
1/2 cup frozen pareve whipped topping, thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons pine nuts
In a salad bowl combine the chicken, 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence, grapes, celery, almonds, pineapple and peaches. Mix to combine. In small bowl combine the mayonnaise, herbs de Provence, pareve whipped topping, salt and pine nuts. Mix to combine. Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture; stir gently to combine. To serve, arrange the lettuce and spinach on a serving platter or individual plates; spoon chicken mixture over greens.
Modified from tablespoon.com.
CREAMED CHICKEN AND PEACHES (meat)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
3 peaches, cut into wedges
1 shallot or 1 tablespoon onion, minced
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup non-dairy almond milk or soy milk
1/3 cup snipped chives or green onions
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Lightly sprinkle both sides of chicken with the salt and pepper and then cook them just until golden on each side so that it’s just done in the middle, 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside on a plate.
After removing the chicken from pan, reduce heat to medium and add the wine. Stir so that the bits on the bottom are scraped up. Add the peaches and onion and stir to coat, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the mustard and non-dairy substitute; whisk to combine. Place the chicken into the sauce and cook, uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the chicken as it cooks. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Place on a serving platter and sprinkle the top with chives and serve.
Modified from Chatelaine magazine.
GRILLED PEACHES AND MOZZARELLA (dairy)
1 lb block or ball of mozzarella, cut into slices
5 to 6 ripe peaches (not too mushy), cut in half, pitted
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 tablespoons oil
1 head each romaine and bibb lettuce, combined
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
zest of one lime
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup shredded basil leaves
In a small bowl combine the minced onions and vinegar. Whisk in the lime juice, zest, honey, salt and pepper. After the mixture is combined add olive oil and whisk to combine, then set it aside. Arrange lettuce on a large platter and set it aside.
Brush a grill pan with oil and then grill the peach halves, cut side down for about 3 or 4 minutes or until there are grill marks and the peaches are warm. Flip them over and grill for 2 to 3 more minutes. Place the peaches on a cutting board and cut them into thin slices. Arrange the peaches and mozzarella slices on top of the lettuce in whatever pattern you like. Sprinkle the shredded basil over the top and then drizzle the dressing over the top and serves.
From my files, source unknown.
CREAMY PECAN PEACH PIE (dairy)
1 readymade pie crust, uncooked
4 cups sliced peeled peaches
2 tablespoons peach preserves
1 cup sugar
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
Preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl, combine peaches and preserves. Spoon the mixture into the pie shell. In a bowl combine the sugar, sour cream, egg yolks, 1/4 cup flour and vanilla. Whisk to combine and then pour the mixture over the peaches. Bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the 1/2 cup flour, sugar, brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon. Cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles crumbs. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top of the peaches.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and topping is golden brown. Cover edges with foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning if necessary. Cool completely on a wire rack for 3 hours before serving.
Modified from tasteofhome.com.
KIWI PEACH AND CREAM SALSA (dairy)
You can vary the amount of fruit or onion in this salsa and a few drops of a hot sauce if you like a little kick.
Servings: 8 – 10
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened (you can use chive cream cheese too)
2 peaches, chopped
2 to 3 kiwis, peeled, chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
4 to 6 green onions, sliced thin, green and white parts
2 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley or cilantro
1/2 to 2/3 cup creamy Italian Dressing
corn chips or crackers
Spread the cream cheese on to the bottom of serving plate, leaving about an inch around the edge. In a bowl combine the kiwi peaches, red pepper, green onion, parsley and the Italian dressing. Mix to combine and then spoon the mixture over the cream cheese. Serve with chips and crackers.
My files, source unknown.
Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, kosher.com and the OU Shabbat Shalom Website. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine. You can visit Eileen’s blog by clicking: Cuisine by Eileen.