Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Peach Shortcakes!

I was in Trader Joe's last week and they were selling local peachs in these adorable cardboard baskets that said "These are from here!" and so of course I bought them. They were so declicious and juicy, perfectly ripe and fresh. However, I soon realized buying these was dumb, because there were about 15 peaches in the basket and now I live alone and that is WAY TOO MANY PEACHES for one person to consume before they get all mushy and gross. Nothing to do but bake with them.

Our friend Jess is a pie baker extraordinaire, and she and Elaine made DELICIOUS peach pies several weeks ago. I can't get involved in pie making - the crust is crazy intimidating to me. Although last week I made this zucchini gallette from smittenkitchen and while it wasn't perfect, I'm going to try again so it CAN be perfect. But anyway, making a pie seemed like too much and crisps and crumbles seemed too fall/winter for these summer beauties. I found a recipe for peach shortcakes on the Cook's Illustrated website - I HEART SHORTCAKES, so this seemed perfect. Kind of strange I never thought of making them with anything other than strawberries. But now that its a possibility, I will make them all the time, with everything because these are easy and awesome.

(Cook's did a lot of fussy things with the peaches that I didn't do...maybe next time, but I doubt it.)

For the peaches you need:
2 lb peaches (about 4-5)
4 tbs sugar (reduced from 6)

For the biscuits you need:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbs sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 stick melted butter (unsalted), cooled slightly

For the peaches:
Slice peaches into 1/4 inch thick segments, sprinkle with sugar and let sit to get the juices flowing. Cook's suggests chopping 1/4 of the peaches up smaller and adding peach schnapps to the mix and microwaving it, but I think this was to ramp up the peach flavor when you don't have good peaches, which I did, so I didn't bother.

For the biscuits:
Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together buttermilk, egg and melted butter. Pour wet ingredients into dry until just combined, then stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for 30 seconds. Shocking, I know. Instead of a loose, wet biscuit dough like I expected, it held together quite well and was kind of smooth. Using a greased 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop 6 biscuits onto a greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle biscuits with 1 tbs sugar and bake at 475 degrees for about 15 minutes until golden brown on top. Let cool on a rack.

To assemble:
Split a biscuit, spoon some peaches on the bottom half, top with whipped cream and the top of the biscuit. Eat. Enjoy.

Such a simple dessert but so delicious because of the freshness of the peaches - a great example of how perfect simple dishes can be if you use ingredients that are in season.

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