Baking & DessertDinner

By Suzanne Lehrer | June 27, 2011

Photo: Suzanne Lehrer

Is there any ingredient with a more wholesome, all-American image than the peach? O.K., maybe the apple, but the peach comes close. “Life’s a peach!,” “Peachy-keen!,” “Ain’t she a peach?” Peaches bring all good tidings, and summer brings peaches.

Although we associate peaches with coming from down South, they actually originated across the globe in China in the 5th century BCE. The peach was introduced to Japan, and then to Persia, where Alexander the Great discovered it and passed the fruit on to the Greeks. France began growing peaches under Louis XIV, and the French loved the fruit so much they nicknamed it “teton de Venus” or “Venus’s breast,” (French men, go figure).

Photo: Suzanne Lehrer

Although the peach was first grown in Georgia from the seed of a Chinese peach around 1870, Georgia is actually one of 40 states that now grow peaches, and second to California in production, although most of California’s crop goes into canned peaches.

Photo: Suzanne Lehrer

Peaches, whose peak harvest is from May to September, have such an incredible natural flavor that-Southern heritage aside-they’re best served just barely gussied up, and don’t need a lot of bells and whistles to make a meal.

White and Yellow Peach Crumble Recipe

There is a lot of good news about fruit crumbles. But perhaps the best news about crumbles is that unless you don’t know where the oven is located in your own kitchen (if this is the case, hint: it’s not your dishwasher), you absolutely cannot mess them up. For this particular recipe, I used both white and yellow peaches for some variety, and also added my favorite granola mix into the topping for some added crunch.

Photo: Suzanne Lehrer

Grilled Balsamic White Peaches with Goat Cheese Salad Recipe

This dish is an incredible way to showcase ripe white peaches without doing very much to them. I had never grilled fruit before, but after trying this out and seeing what a no-brainer it is, there’s no way I’m not doing it again this summer-not to mention, I’m a sucker for food with grill marks. The balsamic glaze on the peaches sort of caramelizes on the grill, and while many other cheeses would work in this dish, the goat cheese melts on top of the peaches creating a perfect sweet and salty balance. You could easily serve these peaches by themselves, but I served these with arugula and toasted almonds as a salad dish.

Photo: Suzanne Lehrer

For White and Yellow Peach Crumble
  • 5 small ripe, white peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 4 ripe, yellow peaches, pitted and sliced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 large pinch nutmeg
  • 1 large pinch cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 stick butter, cold
  • 1/4 cup granola
For Salad:
  • 4 small ripe, white peaches, pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup mild goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 4 cups arugula

Directions

To Make Crumble:

Preheat oven to 375°. Toss the peach slices in a bowl with the lemon juice, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Pour peaches into a buttered shallow baking pan. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and flour. Slice butter, and mix into the sugar and flour with your hands, until the mixture has crumbled into a coarse meal. Add in oats and granola and mix in with your hands until evenly combined. Sprinkle mixture over the peaches, and bake for 25 minutes, or until the juice of the peaches is bubbling and the top is browned.

To Make Salad:

Preheat grill to medium heat. For the balsamic reduction, stir the sugar and vinegar in a small pot and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by half, and sticks to the back of a wooden spoon, and set aside. The reduction will thicken as it cools. Brush the grill with half the canola oil, and place the peaches flesh side down, grilling for 5 minutes. As you turn over the peaches, brush the grill with more canola oil, and brush the balsamic glaze over the flesh side of the peaches. Grill with skin-side down for about 2-3 minutes. Drizzle remaining balsamic reduction over a bed of arugula, placing peaches on top, and crumble goat cheese. Toast the almonds in a nonstick pan for about 5-7 minutes and sprinkle on top as well.

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