Summer Peaches' Last Hurrah

You talk too much!” quipped Thumper, as I sat quietly, reading a book.
I looked up to see my little hooligan, dimpling, ever so slyly. Completely unaware of my plot to overthrow him with oodles of maternal affection.

His silly little comment got me thinking I may just be a chatterbox. Could it be?
In any case, I’ve decided my posts will be a little less chatty—but not today.

First, I'd like us to bow our heads, and have a moment of silence for the omnipotent Prunus Persica. What would religion have to do with any of this, you ask? Hell if I know.

I do know the urge to do a swan-dive at the sight of juicy, summer peaches is a powerful one. And I'm going to miss them. Particularly, the white peach, with its floral sweetness and lower acidity than its yellow counterpart.

And, since summer is almost over, I'd better get on with it, and share the following recipes, using this fleeting summer fruit.

This one is a simple dessert, but a bit fancy too.

Lacquered Peaches

6 apricots, about ½ pound, pitted*
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 cup sugar
4 large peaches (about 1 ½ pounds)
Juice of 1 lemon

Combine the apricots with two cups water, the vanilla bean, and ½ cup sugar in a small saucepan. Boil until very soft, about 15 minutes. Cool. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and submerge the peaches until their skins loosen, about 30 seconds. Drop peaches into a bowl of ice water until they're cool enough to peel.

Put the apricots in a blender, with ¼ cup of their poaching liquid. Process until the mixture is very smooth, adding more liquid, if needed, for the blender to work.

Place remaining ½ cup sugar in a sauté pan.** Cook the sugar on medium-high heat, until sugar melts and turns golden. Reduce heat to low, and pour in the apricot purée. Stir in the lemon juice, until ingredients are blended. Put mixture through a fine mesh strainer.

Place peaches on a lightly-greased baking dish. Spoon the glaze over each peach to cover completely. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Place each peach onto serving plate , without marring the glaze (if you have a fish spatula, use it. It is a great tool for the job).
Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream or Buttermilk Ice Milk.
Adapted from Jean-Georges Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef.

*You can use dried apricots for the sauce. If you do, reconstitute them in hot water for 10 minutes before using.

**This tip will be duhvious to most of you, but here goes: Avoid using a dark pan when caramelizing sugar, or it will be difficult to tell when it takes on color.

...and yet, another favorite, Kolaches!

Raise your hand if you love Kolaches. For the protesting heathen in the back, yeah, YOU. Away with thee. For the rest of you, there's Peach Kolaches. Or is it, Kolachys?
Most of you guys know I'm not from around heah, so feel free to correct me.

I used my favorite Honey Rolls recipe. The only change made, was adding ¼ cup of granulated sugar to the original recipe, as opposed to 2 tablespoons.

Knead briefly, before you shape the dough into 2-inch buns. Place them 1-inch apart, in a prepared, 12" x 17" pan.
To fill Kolaches, make an indentation in each bun using a small, flat-bottomed glass . . . or, the round handle of a wooden citrus reamer (I might've made that up myself).
Fill each bun with a tablespoon of filling.

Peach Filling

Combine 2 cups pitted and chopped peaches with 1 cup peach jam in a bowl. Use the filling as directed.

Cover the buns with a kitchen towel and allow them to rise, until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Meanwhile, prepare the topping.

Streusel Topping

½ cup AP flour
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons chilled butter, diced

Using a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over kolaches just before baking.

Bake Kolaches 25 minutes or until golden. Makes 25-27 buns. Btw, these freeze very well. Filling and Streusel Topping adapted from the book, The Pastry Queen, by Rebecca Rather. Thank you Rosa from Rosa's Yummy Yums for suggesting this book!

In other news...

Thumper went back to school today. And I miss my little playmate already.
He and I spent our summer picking up frogs, snakes and bugs (well, he did the picking, I just nodded appreciatively . . . from afar).

And then, there were those times I told him to go fly a kite! No, seriously. The boy loved it.

We watched "Sponge Bob" as if it were a documentary. We also battled monkeys in space suits, with the aid of the “Agents of Doom.” That's right, heavily-armed chickens. If you have kids, this might actually make sense to you.

It's dreadfully quiet here, and there's no one to tell me I talk too much. Any volunteers?

I hope your summer has been as wonderful!