Author and cartoonist, George DuMaurier, rightly said, “An apple is an excellent thing-until you’ve tried a peach.” And, oh! That is so true, especially for Ohioans in July. Except this July. The winter of 2013 was devastating to Ohio’s peach trees. They were victimized by sub-zero winds from the Arctic resulting in temperatures that plummeted from 47 degrees on one day to minus 8 the next. The wanna be peach buds turned from hopeful green succulent nubs to black, brittle, non-bearing knobs.
Is July 2014 destined to be A Peachless Summer in Ohio? Thank the peach goddess for The Georgia Peach Truck (read more about this blessed deliverer of peachy goodness at http://thepeachtruck.com). Now I feel no guilt at all with sharing this mysterious and impossibly delicious peach dessert that I have yet to come up with a name for. Please give it a try then let us know your best idea for a name for this little bit of peach heaven.
A Little Peach Magic
The recipe requires a little touch of physics, or maybe it’s all due to peach magic. It starts with a custard cup placed upside-down in the center of a pie pan. Next, lovingly place peaches around the cup, drizzle with syrup, cover with a buttery pastry, and bake. The vacuum formed during baking pulls the syrup into the custard cup. After the confection has cooled, flip the pie pan over to reveal peaches cuddled in a flaky pastry and the syrup nicely contained in the now right-side-up custard cup.
For the Peaches & Syrup
4 peaches, peeled, halved, and pitted (It is so easy to peel peaches. Plunge them into a pot of boiling water for about 15 seconds, haul them out with a slotted spoon, and dash them into a vat of chilled water. Once they are cool enough to handle, you can quickly and easily strip off the peel, fuzz and all.)
3/4 c brown sugar
6 T water
2 T unsalted butter
1/2-1 tsp REAL vanilla extract (don’t cheap out with that imitation embarrassment)
1/8 tsp salt
For the Dough
1 1/4 c flour
2 T granulated sugar
1 T baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 T unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces and chilled
6 T milk
For Peaches & Syrup
Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter the top of a 6-oz custard cup and place it upside-down in the center of a 9-inch pie plate. Arrange the peach halves around the cup. In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, water, butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and butter melts, about 5 minutes. Pour over peaches.
In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until blended. Add butter and pulse until the mixture looks like cornmeal. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Using a rubber spatula, fold in milk, pressing the mixture against the sides of the bowl to form the dough. Gather dough and flatten into a disk. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 9-inch circle. Lay the dough directly over the peaches and press and fit the dough so it fits the peaches snugly but do not attach the dough to the pie plate. Bake until the top is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack and cool for 30 minutes.
Here’s the fun part. Place a large rimmed serving plate over the top of the pie plate and quickly invert the dessert onto the serving plate. Cut and serve, pouring syrup over each portion.