Friday, August 7, 2015

“Brown Sugar Cinnamon Peach Pie” & “Irresistible Peach Smoothie” For National Peach Month

Everywhere I look this summer there are delicious, sweet, juicy peaches. There is a reason why I am seeing more peaches all over and that is because August is “National Peach Month.” Did you know that the peach is a member of the Rose family? It was first cultivated in China. The peach tree is considered to be the tree of life and peaches are symbols of immortality and unity. Peach blossoms are carried by Chinese brides and the image is placed on pottery as a gift which has great value. Travelers along caravan routes carried the peach seed to Persia before it was cultivated in Europe. In the 1600s Spanish explorers brought them to the New World and by the 1700s missionaries had established peaches in California. Columbus brought peach trees to America on his second and third voyages. The United States is the world’s largest producer of peaches. The peach is the state fruit of Georgia and South Carolina. The peach blossom is also the State Flower of Delaware. The city of Johnston in South Carolina is known as “The Peach Capital” of the World.

Other major producers are Italy, France, Greece, and Spain. Peaches (or pesca in Italian) have grown in Italy since the Middle Ages. The yield time is from July to September. There are four main growing regions in Italy and they are; 
Emilia Romagna, Campania, Piedmont, and Veneto. Many products are made from peaches such as; peach marmalade, peach essence, peach juice concentrate, and peach puree to name a few. Years ago I heard stories of my grandfather, who would slice a peach into a glass of wine. In order to eat the peach slices, they would take a knife and use the tip to spear them in the glass. This was the classic Italian way. The peach adds a pleasant accent to the wine, and the wine can be either red or white depending on the region you are in. We are all peach lovers in my family. My dad especially loves them on top of cereal and I love peach pie.  

Peach varieties can be either clingstone, where the flesh of the fruit clings to the stone, or freestone, where the stone twists away from the fruit. The peach pit contains hydrocyanic acid, which is a poisonous substance. Peaches are a good source of vitamins A, B and C. Medium peaches contain only 37 calories. You can ripen peaches by placing them in a brown paper bag for two to three days. Nectarines are a variety of peach with a smooth skin, and are not a cross between a peach and a plum. The juice from peaches makes a wonderful moisturizer, and can be found in many brands of cosmetics. Summer and peaches make a perfect pair. Peach ice cream and peach sherbet are a cool and refreshing summer favorite. Ripe peaches also freeze well for later use.

My two recipes this week is in honor of the peach one is “Brown Sugar Cinnamon Peach Pie” (one of my favorites) and the other is called “Irresistible Peach Smoothie.” The juicy peaches make a summer dessert and drink unforgettable. Don’t forget to get your fresh peaches, fruits, and vegetables at your Farmers Markets. It is important to support our local farmers.   
“Brown Sugar Cinnamon Peach Pie

Serve this juicy double-crust peach pie with vanilla ice cream sprinkled with toasted nuts. The brown sugar and the cinnamon complement the natural sweetness of the fresh peaches.

1 1/3 cups cold butter
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup ice-cold water
(optional: you can use ready made pie crust)  
8 large fresh, firm, ripe peaches (about 4 lb)
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Directions for pie dough:
Cut 1 1/3 cups butter into small cubes, and chill 15 minutes. Stir together 4 cups flour and 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas. Gradually stir in 1/2 cup ice water with a fork, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened and dough begins to form a ball and leaves sides of bowl, adding more ice water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, if necessary. Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap; press and shape dough into 2 flat disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and chill 30 minutes to 24 hours. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Place 1 dough disk on a lightly floured surface; sprinkle dough lightly with flour. Roll dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Starting at 1 edge of dough, wrap dough around a rolling pin. Place rolling pin over a 9-inch pie plate, and unroll dough over pie plate. Press dough into pie plate. Roll remaining dough disk to about 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. 

Directions for filling:
Peel peaches, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; cut slices in half. Stir together brown sugar, next 3 ingredients, and remaining 1/4 cup flour in a bowl; add peaches, stirring to coat. Immediately spoon peach mixture into pie crust in pie plate, and dot with 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter. (Do not make mixture ahead or it will become too juicy) Carefully place remaining pie crust over filling; press edges of crusts together to seal. Cut off excess crust, and reserve. Crimp edges of pie. Brush top of pie with beaten egg. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar. Cut 4 to 5 slits in top of pie for steam to escape.  Freeze pie 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a jelly-roll pan in oven 10 minutes. Place pie on hot jelly-roll pan. Bake at 425°F on lower oven rack 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F; bake 40 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, and bake 25 more minutes or until juices are thick and bubbly. (juices will bubble through top) Transfer to a wire rack; cool 2 hours before serving.


Irresistible Peach Smoothie

This frosty, fruity sipper really hits the spot on a steamy August afternoon. (or anytime!) 

2 cups of sliced peaches
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup of vanilla ice cream
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
A few peach slices for garnish

Combine diced peaches, milk, ice cream, and lemon juice in a blender; purée until nearly smooth. Pour into glasses and serve immediately garnished with peach slices, or mint leaves if you like.   Serves: 3

Till Next Time………………………..

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  1. Hello Dottie, I am just about to go and buy more peaches. I think it is the best fruit ever! So sweet, succulent and delicious with sweet and savoury dishes. Many people use them in salads too.
    I am tempted by your smoothie and your pie is fantastic! I find all cakes with peaches simply irresistible.
    I hope you are well and enjoy summer xx

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thanks dear friend...I know what you mean the peach is one of my favorite fruits. I have used them in salads and love it. The smoothie is really good but if you want to make it more healthy, you can use Light milk and low fat ice cream...but I think it is best with my recipe. If you are going to drink it I say enjoy it...Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy your holiday in Italy.......
      Dottie :)