As we were driving around town looking for the famous Mustard’s Last Stand as a lunchtime stop for the world’s greatest hotdog, we drove past Boulder High School, which had a giant sign out front: “PEACH SALE FRIDAY”. What day was it, anyway? Well, Friday, of course. Score!
We bought a box of peaches for a nominal price, and have been eating peaches like rabid fiends ever since. These peaches aren’t like the kind you often find in the grocery store, which are plucked green and sprayed with chemicals to make them ripen, only to arrive at the store rock hard yet on the verge of rotting. These peaches are straight off the tree, still with a soft layer of fuzz and the occasional leaf stuck to the stem. As you bite into them, the juice drips down your chin and onto your forearm. You consider licking it off before regaining your composure, and grab a paper towel. They are that good, and only traveled up and over the mountains to get here.
We started eating multiple peaches a day, putting them on our morning cereal, our yogurt, and eating them for dessert; we even passed up the Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer for a few slices of juicy peach (crazy, I know). Over the weekend we took some camping with us and kept them in the cooler; they were the perfect cold, luscious snack after a long hike, the kind that zings your teeth when you first bite in, but are so intoxicatingly sweet you really don’t care.
OK, so I think I’ve gotten my point across on how incredibly delicious these peaches are; do I really need to go on? However, there was a downside to buying all of these delicious jewels – what to do with all of them? We couldn’t possibly eat over 50 peaches before they start to go bad (but we could sure as hell try). We ended up freezing some, but for dessert one night this week, I thought I’d try my hand at something new.
I didn’t come across this inspiration very easily. I was flipping through my cookbooks for ideas, but all I found was peach crumble this, peach cobbler that, peach pie blahdeeblah. Been there, done that! Give me something new, something fresh, something… stuffed?
The Joy of Cooking, once again, saved the day. Among all of the weird, dated recipes in the torn and tattered pages was one that caught my eye: stuffed peaches. The concept is simple – pitted peaches stuffed with a crumbly, nutty mixture and baked in the oven until all is luscious and golden and right with the world. However, the recipe called for things like canned peaches, candied orange and dry sherry – what is this, The Donna Reed Show? I set out to bring this promising recipe into the 21st century.
I made a little candied lemon rind, which may sound like an exhausting endeavor – but in reality, it takes 20 minutes, a pot of boiling water, and a handful of sugar. I used the candied lemon rind in place of the candied orange – or heck, you could even make candied orange rind, if that’s your bag, baby. I also added shredded coconut to the stuffing for texture, and a pinch of cinnamon, which complements peaches’ flavor. The whole thing is baked in the oven with a sploosh (yes, a sploosh) of white wine instead of dry sherry, and comes out crunchy on top, soft on the bottom and warm all over. Serve these little jewels with fresh whipped cream or ice cream; then take off your apron and prance around your kitchen like the 21st century Donna Reed that you are. Enjoy!
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2 peaches, halved and pitted
1/3 c. toasted pecans
1/3 c. shredded coconut
1 Tbs. candied lemon peel (recipe to follow)
1 Tbs. powdered sugar
pinch of cinnamon
1 Tbs. butter
1/4 c. white wine
For the candied lemon peel:
2 c. water
1/4 c. sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°. To make the candied lemon peel, remove the lemon’s peel with a sharp peeler, being careful not to get too much of the white pith. Bring the 2 cups of water to a boil, and add the lemon peel to the boiling water. Boil the peel for 15 minutes, until it begins to turn translucent. Remove from the boiling water and place on a paper towel. Toss the boiled lemon peel in the 1/4 cup of sugar to coat, and cool completely.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the toasted pecans, coconut, candied lemon peel, powdered sugar and cinnamon and pulse until the mixture is a consistent texture of fine crumbs. Set aside.
Slice a sliver off of each of the peach half bottoms to give it a flat surface, and place the peaches, sliced side down, in a small baking dish. Using a spoon, divide the stuffing among the four peach halves and top with a pinch of butter. Pour the 1/4 cup of white wine in the baking dish and bake the peaches for about 20 minutes, until the stuffing is beginning to brown and the peaches are hot and soft. Serve with whipped cream.
* If the above slideshow doesn’t load, you can view all the photos from this recipe on Flickr.
Laura is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She was born and raised in Fayetteville, but has recently moved to Boulder, Colorado. She is a self-proclaimed foodie and avid cook. For more of Laura’s contributions, see her Flyer Foodie author page. For more cooking, recipes, and other food-related inspiration, visit Flyer Foodie on Facebook.