Recipe: Peach Shortcake

Happy first day of summer, friends!

We've already had a few weeks of summer heat and so far I've dug my toes into the sand, bbq'ed a few hot dogs (as well as had my fav summer beer), hung by the pool, and covered myself in sunscreen and/or bug repellant from head to toe. I'm hoping for more of that as the summer weekends fly by. I thought about making a summer bucket list, but might just try to chill and see what the weekends bring.

Do you have big summer plans? Vacations and trips and big ideas? I hope you do! Got a bbq where you can't show up empty handed? I can help with that!

A twist on a strawberry shortcake, we're going a little wild and adding peaches instead of berries PLUS brushing these sweet little cakes with some peach syrup. The perfect way to feed a summer crowd but easy enough to throw together. We're hitting that sweet spot.

Peach Shortcake with Whipped Cream

Yields 8-12 slices

For the cake:
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For peach cake syrup:
1/2 cup peach puree (made from 1-3 peaches)
2/3 granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons water

For the whipped cream:
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5-7 peaches

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare three 9-inch round cake pans by coating in butter and a thin layer of flour.

Make your cake: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to remove any lumps and combine ingredients. Mix in half of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, then mix in the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the other half of the dry ingredients, mixing just enough to combined. Scrape down the bowl.

Split the batter evenly between the three 9-inch cake pans and bake for 20-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then finish cooling on a cooling rack.

Make your cake syrup: While the cake is baking, make your cake syrup. In a food processor, puree 1-3 peaches until you have a 1/2 cup of puree. In a small saucepan combine peach puree, sugar, and water. Heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolved (about 5 minutes) and remove from heat. 

Once your cakes are cooled, use a pastry brush to brush the syrup onto all over the top of them. Wait a few minutes until the syrup soaks in , then repeat. You can do this as many times as you want (I did 2-3 times), but you will have extra peach syrup.

Make your whipped cream: Place your metal mixing bowl and wire attachment in your fridge 10 minutes before you begin whisking. Add heavy cream and sugar to the bowl of the mixer. Begin whisking on low, and then gradually increase the speed until medium-high. Add in your vanilla extra. Continue to whisk until you have siff peaks (about 5-7 minutes).

Assemble the cake: place one cake on the center of a cake stand or large plate. Using a rubber spatula, spoon a third of the whipped cream into the center of the cake and spread towards the outside. Thinly slice your peaches and place them in an even layer on the whipped cream. For presentation purposes, you want to them to be all the way to the edge of the cake so you can see them once you assemble the rest of the cake. Repeat with the middle and top layer.

Store in the refrigerator or chilled space before serving. Because this is a "naked" cake, you'll want to eat the same day as the exposed cake will dry out faster.

Recipe: Peach Ice Cream

I know that summer is officially over, but I needed to make one more recipe with the summer ingredient I have on hand: peaches. What you'll read below is my second attempt at making peach ice cream. The first attempt ended up way too vanilla, not enough peach, and definitely over churned. But this second try, it's damn good. 

French-style ice cream can seem mildly intimidating. Your trying not to burn cream, get a perfect custard consistency, and it takes a lot of cooling. But I promise, this ice cream is the creamiest I've ever made at home. Definitely worth the extra work and not as intimidating as you would think!

Let's hold on to summer for just a few more hours and make this peach ice cream, okay? Do yourself a favor. 

French-Style Peach Ice Cream

Yields 6-8 servings

1 cup 1% or 2% milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
3 peaches, peeled and roughly chopped
1 peach, peels and chopped small
2 tablespoons sugar

The technique for making this French-style base is from the Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones cookbook. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in making ice cream. The techniques mapped out in this box are incredibly detailed and helpful (pictures!).

Make your ice cream base: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk egg yolks and half of the sugar until just combined. Set aside. Fill a large bowl with water and ice. Also set aside.

In a medium saucepan, stir together milk, heavy cream, and the remaining sugar. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Bring the mixture to the brink of a simmer with small bubbles beginning to form along the edge of the pan. Turn the heat to medium and ladle about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the bowl with the eggs, whisking constantly. This will temper the eggs and keep them from scrambling. Repeat with another 1/2 cup ladle of hot cream.

Using a rubber spatula, stir the saucepan while you pour the egg mixture in. With the heat on medium, continue to cook on medium while stirring constantly until the mixture changes to a slightly thicker consistency. Once you feel a little more resistance as you stir, test the readiness by removing your spoon/spatula from the saucepan and running your finger across it. If the path created by your finger holds for a second or two, it's ready.

Remove from heat and pour into a plastic container or measuring cup through a fine mesh strainer. Place into the ice bath, stirring often with a clean spoon, until cool. Remove from the ice bath, cover with plastic wrap pressed against the custard, and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. 

Make peach puree: In a blender, blend together the 3 roughly chopped peaches and sugar until smooth. 

Make your ice cream: Pour peach puree into the custard and mix together. Pour mixture into ice cream machine and follow manufacturer's instructions. Once ice cream has mixed, quickly mix in chopped peach pieces with a spatula. Pour ice cream into a loaf pan. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the pan, pressing it lightly into the pan so it touches the top of the ice cream. Place in the freezer to set for 2 hours (or overnight). Once frozen, scoop into a bowl or ice cream cone.

Recipe: Peach Raspberry Bars

I'm currently writing this blog post while D E E P in an Unsolved Mysteries black hole. It's been about 4 days since I've watched anything else and I've binged through a whole season—30 something episodes—which feels pretty embarrassing when I write it here. But I'm learning about Roswell aliens and someone named "Pappy" Henderson and last night I had a dream narrated by Robert Stack so everything is a-ok...

(If you want to go down the Unsolved Mysteries hole, every episode is on Amazon Prime)

Also while I'm writing this, I'm eating the only one of these bars that made it through a tragic kitchen accident. The whole pan was knocked on the kitchen floor, shattering the pyrex pan they were in into tiny pieces that covered the bars. One made it out unscathed, which I'm not sharing with anyone. <3

Peach Raspberry Bars

Makes 12 bars

3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup oats
heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 peaches
1/2-3/4 cup raspberries
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
sprinkle of salt
3 tablespoon butter, melted

Prepare a 8x8 baking pan by spraying with a light layer of cooking spray and lining with a parchment paper so two sides hang over for easy removal. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Make your crust: In a large mixing bowl, mix together oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt with a wooden spoon. Add in melted butter and mix until combined and clumpy. Spread into an even layer in the prepared baking sheet. 

To make your filling, thinly slice peaches and place on top of crust in a single layer. Fill in between the peach slices with raspberries cut in half. Once you've created one layer, sprinkle with corn starch, juice from the lemon, and 1/2 tablespoon of sugar. Add another layer of peaches and raspberries and then sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.

Topping: In the same mixing bowl you made the crust in, add oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt with a wooden spoon. Add in melted butter and mix until combined and clumpy. Using your hands, sprinkle lumps of the topping onto the peaches/raspberries. You should be able to see the peaches through the top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the fruit is cooked through. Cool completely before cutting into squares. These bars are on the softer side, so store them in the refrigerator.

Recipe: Baked Peaches

If you saw my Peaches and Cream Breakfast Popsicle post last week, you know that I had an abundance of peaches around the house that I was trying to use up. In an attempt to spice up my normal peach crisp, I made you Baked Peaches with a oat and cinnamon topping! Basically just like peach crisp without the slices of the peaches, these are perfect for a quick dessert with ice cream or whipped cream, or reheated as breakfast the next morning. I'm all about the desserts that double as breakfast.

Baked Peaches

Makes 8 peach halves

4 peaches
2 tablespoons + 3 tablespoons of cold butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut each peach in half and remove the pits. In an oven-proof dish (like an 8x8inch baking dish) place the peach halves, skin side down. Cut the two tablespoons of cold butter into 8 pieces and place a piece of the butter on each peach. Sprinkle sugar across the tops.

In a medium bowl, add oats, flour, cinnamon, salt, and brown sugar. Melt butter in the microwave, and mix into the mixture with a fork until combined and crumbly. Add topping to the peaches, concentrating on the tops of each peach and lightly pressing the topping into each peach. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the topping is golden. Serve warm with ice cream and caramel sauce, or whipped cream. 

Baked Peaches via Unusually Lovely

Recipe: Peaches and Cream Breakfast Popsicles

Did you know that according to the internet it's now appropriate to eat popsicles for breakfast? It's a real thing! Google it! 

So today we are making breakfast popsicles because the internet said it's acceptable and because I have too many peaches in my house. Trader Joe's got me with the box of peaches. They smelled so good that I couldn't resist! Now, my go-to way to use up peaches is always a peach crisp (which I use a similar recipe to this apple crisp), but I've been trying to rethink that (hint hint) and think up something new and different. So today we are mixing them with vanilla yogurt and granola and making frozen peach parfaits. Perfect summer breakfast when you need to eat something quick. 

Peaches and Cream Breakfast Popsicles

Makes 10 popsicles

1 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt**
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granola
1 peach

Slice a peach in half and cut into slices. Mix together milk, yogurt, and vanilla extract until well combined. Fill your popsicle molds (I have this one) and place two slices of peach into each popsicle slot. Top with granola, shimmy a popsicle stick in, and add enough milk/yogurt mixture to fill each mold. Freeze for at least 4–6 hours or until frozen solid.

** You could substitute greek or plain yogurt with a little honey if you aren't a fan of vanilla yogurt.