By Nancy Smorch
It’s peach season here in West Michigan, and although I’ve never really done much with peaches in the past, other than eat them fresh, this year I decided to go all out. My inspiration? "The Perfect Peach, Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm."
I was in Art of the Table in Grand Rapids, Michigan, while giving my sister Roseanne, a quick tour of some of the cool stores, coffee and juice shops, and restaurants in Grand Rapids. I saw this book and I couldn’t resist. I looked at the pictures of recipes like Peach Gazpacho, Peach Galette (on the cover), Prosciutto-Wrapped Peaches, and Peach Jam, and I was sold.
So now I just had to get some peaches. Roseanne and I picked some up at the Holland Farmer’s Market, but they were just so-so. Then a week later, Frankie and I went to pick raspberries (had to make some more raspberry jam for winter), and peaches at Gary Crane’s Orchard in Fennville (Michigan). The lady who showed us which trees we could pick from told us that all of the peaches available for picking were juicy and sweet. I had my doubts about them being sweet, as they were all so big and slightly firm. But Frankie and I picked a big plastic bag full of them and took our treasures home for some fun experimenting with new recipes.
On the way home from the orchard, Frankie tried one of the peaches. She’s not a big fan of fruit, and especially peaches, but she ate the whole thing and said it was amazing. I had to agree - they actually were really sweet and juicy.
So we made some peach jam and raspberry jam (amazing, by the way), and used up all of the peaches. So when my mother-in-law, Sharon, came to town this past weekend, she and I went picking raspberries and peaches again. And, once again, the peaches were delicious.
This time, I decided to try the French Peach Cobbler, from Masumoto’s book. I’ve had fruit cobblers before, and they’ve always been good, but this one was GREAT. Everyone agreed it was the best cobbler they had ever had!
What made it stand out? I think it’s the almond extract that’s added to the topping. I had never thought to add almond extract, even though I love it, but it really made a huge difference.
I found the recipe for the French Peach Cobbler on line. Click here for the full recipe. The only difference is that this one didn’t include the almond extract and also called for more sugar in the peach mixture. I would tweak the recipe a bit, and add 1/4 tsp. pure almond extract and only put in 1/3 cup sugar to the peach mixture (unless your peaches aren’t as sweet).
Don’t let this time of year pass you by without trying something new with peaches - they could be my new favorite fruit!