Sunday, October 5, 2014

Peach Shortcake

What's this?  Two posts in one day?  Two posts within an hour of each other?  That's what happens when Mark works all weekend, and I don't have any plans, and when I counted the recipes in my blog backlog, it reached the double digits.  I've been cooking and baking like crazy, and definitely not keeping up with all the recipes I have to share.  And this week is already looking pretty busy, so I figured I'd give you a two-for-one today.  Hopefully you're in the mood for baking, because here's your second baked good for the day!

The Westminster Farmer's Market has been full of peaches this summer (among other things... we have been loading up on eggplants, tons of tomatoes and peppers, the world's most giant scallions, and my new obsession, ground cherries... if you've never tried them, please come to the market next Friday!).  Mark picks some up every time he sees them.  Without fail, every time he buys them, I try one, and I find that I love the sweet, juicy insides, but I absolutely hate the itchy, soft, bristly skin.  In fact I think the skin gets more upsetting to me every time I eat a peach.  My skin itches and I swear I'm becoming allergic.  So, I've been trying to peel them, but that's a juicy mess, so my next solution: baking with them.  Be prepared for a number of peach baked goods in the blog's future - starting here, with peach shortcakes!

As someone who isn't huge on sweets, I have to admit that I have a soft spot for shortcakes of any kind.  My favorite desserts include fruits, and I love fresh whipped cream (who doesn't?), and a shortcake is basically just a slightly sweet biscuit, which obviously is one of the world's best types of bread.

This recipe has soft, warm biscuits flavored with a little bit of nutmeg, brushed with rum butter straight out of the oven.  The peaches are soft, juicy and sweet, and the whipped cream on top ties all the pieces together.  Mmmmm!  I actually ended up not peeling the peaches, because the fact that the slices are so thin made the skin less of an issue for me... and I was feeling lazy!  I will say, I thought the rum butter was a bit too strong on the rum.  It's equal parts melted butter and rum, so you definitely taste it.  I think they would be better if you cut the rum to maybe 1 tablespoon rather than 3.  Otherwise, these shortcakes are a divine way to pretend it's still summer vacation!


peach shortcake
from The Law Student's Wife
serves 9

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 stick very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup cold milk
4 ripe peaches
2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons dark rum
whipped cream (make your own!)


1) Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 450 degrees.  Lightly grease an 8x8" pan and set aside.

2) In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade or a large mixing bowl, sift flour with sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.  Add butter and lightly pulse (or cut in butter by hand) until the butter is the size of small peas.  Add well-beaten egg and milk just until incorporated.

3) Quickly press the batter into the prepared pan, touching it as little as possible with your fingers to keep the butter cold.  Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until the top is lightly golden.  Cut into squares.

4) To quickly peel peaches: cut a small X on the bottom of each.  Slip into a large pot of boiling water.  Boil for about 30 seconds, then remove with a slotted pool and submerge immediately in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  Slip off the skins with your fingers, then slice peaches.

5) In a small bowl, combine the sliced peaches and 2 teaspoons granulated sugar.  Set aside.  In a separate small bowl, combine the melted butter and rum.

6) To serve, while still warm, split each shortcake square in half horizontally.  Brush the cut sides generously with rum butter.  Place 1 buttered layer on the plate, cover with peaches and whipped cream, top with the second shortcake layer, then cover with additional fruit and whipped cream.

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