Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Peaches and Cream

Even though I live in the South which is noted for its peaches, the best ones I've been savoring so far have been from California in the supermarket. Go figure. I haven't had a bad one, yet. 

Cobblers, pies, jams, crisps...but who has time for all that prep? Sometimes easy is the best route. Slice them, toss with brown sugar, and serve over store-bought pound cake with whipped cream. I had intended to add a shot of amaretto to the mix--even brandy. But, you know, the peaches were just so fresh and tasty, why ruin a good thing?

Clingstone vs Freestone Peaches:

Clingstone peaches have a pit that stubbornly "clings" to the flesh. They are sweet and juicy and usually used for desserts, jellies, jams and canning. Chances are the canned varieties you buy in the store are clingstone. 

Freestone peaches have a pit that is easily removed from the flesh. They, too, are good for eating, canning and baking, and tend to be firmer but with less juice than clingstones; still, they are sweet.
  • 4 firm, ripe peaches (mine were clingstone)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, light or dark
  • Splenda, about 1-2 teaspoons
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
  • Pound cake
  • Whipped cream in a can

If you have freestone peaches, simply slice around the pit and pull apart. Slice each half in two. Peel the skin with a paring knife and cut each quarter in half. If using clingstone, it's easier to just slice around the pit in chunks; if you try to pull it apart, you will only end up bruising the peach. Peel the skin with a paring knife and cut into slices and/or pieces.  I like to leave some "skin" on the peaches for the visual effect. Don't be obsessed with a "perfect slice." Really, who cares?

For each peach, plan to use at least 1 tablespoon brown sugar. I like to use a bit of Splenda sweetener with fruit. It lessens the sugar but gives sweetness. When mixed with a regular sugar, such as brown sugar, I think the result is great. Of course, it's optional.

Sprinkle the sugared-peach slices with a bit of water. Toss. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight or for 1-2 days. If your peaches are a bit insipid or bland-tasting, add a shot of amaretto or brandy to boost the taste.

To serve: slice a piece of pound cake, mound with peaches and drizzle with the syrup. Squirt with whipped cream. Garnish with mint leaves if you have them.

NOTES: I used Sara Lee Pound Cake and Reddi-Wip, whipped cream in a can. I did not use just a few squirts of whipping cream as in the picture. I smothered it--yea, baby! Did I stick the nozzle in my mouth and squirt, squirt, squirt? Hell, yes!

The phrase "peaches and cream" refers to a healthy complexion. Maybe. But I sure don't mind testing the phrase . . .