"It's so beautifully arranged on the the plate – you know someone's fingers have been all over it." – Julia Child

Posts tagged peaches


Peaches and other produce are available year round at many of our grocery stores. Sure, they may be in season in other parts of the world and shipped here so we can have asparagus even in the dead of winter, but as much as possible, we should buy produce that’s ripe and ready to eat in our own latitude and longitude. Better yet, if you can skip the impersonal chill of the supermarket and opt for a leisurely stroll through a local fruit farm, do it and take in the colors and smells of summer produce. The peaches featured here are from Wickham’s Fruit Farm in Cutchogue, one of Tara’s frequent pit stops in the North Fork of Long Island.

Fresh fruit is one of our favorite ingredients to start summer desserts because it requires very little preparation and needs only minimal coaxing to release its juices. For these peach shortcakes, slices of ripe yellow peaches are sprinkled with coarse sugar and lemon juice. This combination macerates the fruit, creating a light, natural syrup with a balancing tartness.

You can pile the peaches onto shortcakes and slather them with vanilla-flavored whipped cream or add a generous spoonful of homemade bourbon and ginger peach jam. The recipe for the jam follows—one of Tara’s go to-s every summer when farmer’s market and fruit stand purchases are delicious freshly picked and promise to be just as good months down the road.

About the shortcakes: I’m obsessed with biscuits and scones and have been baking them since I was little. I have my preferences for how to fold in butter and how to arrange them on the baking sheet, and by now I think they’re easy to make. But, I know that even these quick breads can be daunting for non-bakers, and also, that they can be made even quicker! This recipe cheats with self-raising  flour and instead of carefully cut up chilled butter, whipped cream. Sugar and (optional) orange zest are also in the mix, and just like that, dessert is ready.


Makes 6

*If you don’t have self-raising flour, substitute it with 2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon baking powder + 1 teaspoon salt

2 cups self-raising flour*, plus additional for work surface
2 tablespoons coarse granulated sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 cup heavy cream, chilled

– Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

– In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, and orange zest. In a second bowl (chilled if possible), whisk the cream until it holds soft peaks. With a rubber spatula, stir the cream into the flour mixture.

– Lightly dust a clean and dry work surface with flour and turn the dough out. Gather the dough together and knead it just until it comes together, 3 to 5 times. Press the dough into a ¾-inch thick disk and punch out the biscuits with a 2.4-inch cutter (you can use a glass of similar size). You may have to shape the last biscuit from the leftover scraps of dough.

– Arrange the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with additional sugar. Bake until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes. Transfer tray to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.



Makes about 2 cups

1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch salt

–  Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl (chilled if possible – it helps in holding the peaks) until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until needed, up to 6 hours. If it wilts a bit, re-whisk before serving.



6 to 8 ripe peaches, sliced
Coarse granulated sugar to taste
Lemon juice

– Toss the peach slices with 2 teaspoons sugar and 2 teaspoons lemon juice in a medium bowl. Taste and add more sugar and lemon juice until you like it.



Recipe adapted from The Hands-On Home by Erica Strauss

Makes about 4 half pint jars

3 pounds peeled and cored peaches
2 – 3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼-½ teaspoon dry ginger
1-2 tablespoons Bourbon

– Toss the fruit and 2 cups of sugar in a large bowl. Cover and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.

– Add the fruit and all of the juices to a large nonreactive pan. Bring the jam to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. When the fruit has softened, add the lemon juice and ginger.

– You can break the fruit down more at this point with a potato masher if you prefer a smoother texture for your jam. This is also a great time to taste the jam. You can add more sugar if you feel it’s needed, up to 1 cup.

– Continue cooking, stirring frequently until the jam is glossy, a bit darker, and thickened. When it reaches 220°F (at sea level) it’s done. It should sheet off the spoon.

– Reduce the heat to low and add 1 tablespoon of bourbon. Stir well and taste. Add additional bourbon if desired.

– Ladle the jam into sterilized hot jars leaving ¼ headspace. Remove any air bubbles and wipe the jar rims down. You can use a chopstick to help remove the bubbles by running it along the inside of the jar. Place the lids on the jars according to the manufacturer’s directions.

– Process the jam in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. (Use the water bath canning method, processing for 10 minutes. This is a great resource

– Once the jars have cooled fully, check to make sure they have sealed. If any have not sealed, put them in the refrigerator and use within a month.

– Sealed jars should be labeled and stored in a cool dark place. They’ll be good for about a year.

*A great link for a complete how to on hot water bath canning:

It has been a long, hot, sweaty summer. We’ve enjoyed the sunshine stretching out lazily into the evening, pink twilights spent drinking frosty beers on crowded restaurant patios, and eating farmers’ market seasonal produce like garnet red cherries and bright yellow squash blossoms. But, despite the summer fun and sun, we do admit to ogling boutique mannequins as they unblushingly strip out of flowy sundresses and slip into leather pants and boyfriend sweaters. It’s time to turn the page, but, not before we squeeze in one last recipe that hip-hip-hoorays the bounty of the warmest months.

Cobblers are the perfect dessert to highlight and celebrate fresh produce: quickly cooked and lightly flavored with little other than a bit of butter and sugar, the fruit, as it rightfully should, remains the main attraction. This version begins on the stovetop, where butter is cooked until nutty in aroma and color. Next, slices of marigold yellow-and-crimson peaches are sautéed briefly with a touch of sugar and a splash of smoky Bourbon just to get their juices flowing.

This is where you should pay special attention: we’ve had many cobblers that are topped with biscuits. A lovely concept in that biscuits are light and tender and will imbibe all the gooey runoff from the cobbler, but in practice, often a disappointment. The biscuit topping becomes mired in the fruit and the point of contact between the dough and the filling never cooks through properly, resulting in a soggy-bottomed—and often raw—mess.

To avoid this problem, the biscuit topping here is frugal and scattered in small pieces over the topping. These will bake along with the fruit in under 15 minutes, and the result will be properly cooked, crisp, textured mini-biscuits that contrast the supple peach filling. Oh, and, there’s fresh thyme in the topping that adds the subtle herbal scent of a late summer garden.

Gather ye peaches while you may — and, also, happy Labor Day weekend!

Serves 4 to 6
Fresh thyme leaves in the biscuit crumble topping of this cobbler add a savory hint to this classic summer dessert.

For the Thyme Biscuit Topping
¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus additional for garnish
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into slices and chilled
5 tablespoons buttermilk, chilled

For the Peaches
½ stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter
4 ripe but firm peaches, pitted and sliced into 8 wedges
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice1 tablespoon Bourbon (optional)
⅛ teaspoon salt

For the Thyme Biscuit Topping: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

In large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, lemon zest, thyme, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add butter slices to flour mixture and toss to coat. Working quickly, press slices of butter between thumb and forefinger, tossing in between presses, until butter is evenly distributed.

With a rubber spatula, stir in buttermilk, working dough just until combined. Quickly gather dough into ball and refrigerate while you make the peach base.

For the Peaches: Melt butter in 10-inch shallow skillet over medium heat until it begins to foam and brown flecks begin to be visible, 3 to 4 minutes. Add peaches, brown sugar, lemon juice, optional Bourbon, and salt, and cook, stirring gently and occasionally, until peaches begin to soften and release juices, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Pinch off ¼-inch pieces of biscuit dough and scatter over peaches. Bake cobbler until biscuit topping is golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer skillet to cooling rack and allow to cool 5 minutes prior. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and serve.