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National Eat a Peach Day: it's a real thing

 

A peach crostata blending flavors like brown sugar and cinnamon in a golden crust is one way to tip a hat to National Eat a Peach Day coming up Aug. 22.

A peach crostata blending flavors like brown sugar and cinnamon in a golden crust is one way to tip a hat to National Eat a Peach Day coming up Aug. 22.
Photo by: whatshouldimakefor.com

 

Sliced peaches and juicy blueberries top this tart that works as breakfast or dessert.

Sliced peaches and juicy blueberries top this tart that works as breakfast or dessert.
Photo by: foodbabble.com

 

Asian chicken with peaches, prepared with brown sugar and chili-garlic sauce and served over rice, is layered with flavors.

Asian chicken with peaches, prepared with brown sugar and chili-garlic sauce and served over rice, is layered with flavors.
Photo by: tablespoon.com

 

 

Jan Swoope

 

 

Nowhere can I find whether the Allman Brothers inspired it or not, but there is actually such a thing as National Eat a Peach Day. It's observed annually on Aug. 22, a day dedicated to the eating of peaches. And there are so many ways to do it -- in pies, cobblers, fruit salad, jam, ice cream, tarts, milkshakes or just on their own.  

 

Who else remembers perching in a mimosa tree in the backyard as a kid and biting into a cold peach on a warm day, juice dribbling down your chin? No more trees for me, but today we do keep peaches in a pottery bowl on the coffee table, along with nectarines, bananas and apples. We're a little neater now while eating them. 

 

Peaches are native to Northwest China, and China still produces over half the world's supply -- but I wouldn't put them up against the fine fresh peaches area growers have lately had at our farmers markets.  

 

We can apparently thank the Spanish for bringing peaches to the Americas in the 16th century. It's said Founding Father Thomas Jefferson had some growing at Monticello, but widespread commercial production didn't begin here until the 19th century. As we know, our regional neighbor, Georgia, is known as the "Peach State," although it produces only three to five percent of the national peach crop, according to smithsonian.com. But the state nickname refers to the high quality of peaches coming out of that sunny state, something that seems borne out by all the cars stopping at those roadside Chilton County (Georgia) peach stands that have been dotting Columbus' Highway 45 North.  

 

On the nutritional side of things, peaches contain vitamins A, B, C, E and K, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron and more. One medium peach typically delivers 8 percent of the daily value for vitamin C, so says anydayguide.com. 

 

Consider getting on board National Eat a Peach Day with one of today's recipes, like a rustic peach crostata topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, perfect for summer's end. Asian chicken with peaches layers so many flavors, and this one can be ready in an hour or less. Or, try making the blueberry peach tart, a flaky, buttery puff pastry topped with ripe peaches and plump blueberries. In a hurry? Slice up some peaches on your morning cereal; save a few slices to put in a sandwich bag with some sugar. By lunch you'll have a peachy snack in a natural syrup.  

 

Grammy-winning country and bluegrass performer Kathy Mattea once said, "Chocolate is OK, but I prefer a really intense fruit taste. You know when a peach is absolutely perfect ... it's sublime." 

 

She knows a good thing.  

 

So remember, Aug. 22, eat a peach. And nobody says you can't listen to a classic Southern rock album from the Allman Brothers while you do it. 

 

 

 

PEACH CROSTATA 

 

Prep time: 25 minutes 

 

Cook time: 45 minutes 

 

Makes 8 servings 

 

 

 

Buttery pie crust: 

 

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 

 

1 tablespoon sugar 

 

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

 

4-ounce 1 stick unsalted butter, very cold 

 

1 tablespoon shortening very cold 

 

1/4 cup ice water 

 

 

 

Peach crostata: 

 

5 peaches 

 

1 tablespoon lemon juice 

 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

 

1/4 cup light brown sugar 

 

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 

 

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 

 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

 

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

 

2 tablespoon corn starch 

 

1 egg lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons water 

 

2 tablespoons turbinado sugar coarse sugar 

 

 

 

  • For the pie crust: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to mix. 

     

  • Add the butter and shortening and pulse about 10-12 times until the fat is cut into the flour mixture and it's pea-size. 

     

  • Pour in about 2/3⅔of the ice water and pulse a few more times until a ball begins to form, adding more water as needed. Be careful not to overmix. Dough should not be completely blended; it will come together on the counter. 

     

  • Scrape dough onto counter and form into a flat disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. (Dough can also be frozen for several weeks. Defrost in refrigerator before proceeding.) 

     

  • Make the crostata: Roll out pie dough into a large round, about 1/8-inch thick and place on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Place in the refrigerator to chill. 

     

  • Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and fill a large bowl with ice water. Score the bottom of each peach with an X and drop into boiling water. After 2 minutes, remove peaches with a slotted spoon and place in ice water. Allow to cool for a few minutes and remove to dry on paper towels. 

     

  • Using a paring knife, peel peaches. Then halve peaches, remove pit and thinly slice. 

     

  • Carefully toss peach slices with the lemon juice, brown sugar, spices, salt, pepper and corn starch. 

     

  • Remove pie crust round from refrigerator and arrange peach slices in concentric circles, leaving a wide edge to fold over. Trim the ends to form an even border. 

     

  • Fold and pleat the border around the filling, leaving center exposed. Don't worry about perfect folds; it's meant to have a rustic appearance. 

     

  • Place unbaked crostata in refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill. Preheat oven to 375 F. 

     

  • Remove, brush edges with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. 

     

  • Bake about 40-45 minutes or until peaches are tender and can be easily pierced with a knife and crust is golden brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired. 

     

    (Source: whatshouldimakefor.com, Cathy Roma) 

     

     

     

    ASIAN CHICKEN WITH PEACHES 

     

    Prep time: 20 minutes 

     

    Total time: 45 minutes 

     

    Makes 4 servings 

     

     

     

    2 tablespoons butter 

     

    4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 1/4 pound) 

     

    3/4 teaspoon salt 

     

    2 cups pitted sliced peaches, thawed if frozen 

     

    2 green onions, whites and greens separated, sliced on the bias 

     

    2 tablespoons packed brown sugar  

     

    1/4 cup water 

     

    1 tablespoon rice vinegar 

     

    1 1/2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce 

     

    1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce 

     

    Lime wedges 

     

    Cooked white rice 

     

     

     

  • Heat oven to 400 F. In 12-inch ovenpoof skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Rub chicken breasts with salt; add to skillet. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until browned on first side. Turn; cook 3 to 4 minutes longer or until browned on second side. Transfer to plate; cover to keep warm. 

     

  • Add peaches and green onion whites to skillet; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until beginning to brown. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar and the water; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until caramelized. Remove from heat. 

     

  • In small bowl, mix remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar, the rice vinegar, chili garlic sauce and soy sauce. Place chicken on top of peaches in skillet; brush rice vinegar mixture over breasts. Bake 16 to 20 minutes or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (at least 165 F). Top with green onion greens. Serve with lime wedges and rice. 

     

    (Source: tablespoon.com) 

     

     

     

    BLUEBERRY PEACH TART 

     

     

     

    1 package of puff pastry thawed 

     

    1 tablespoons coarse sugar 

     

    1 tablespoon all purpose flour, plus more for dusting 

     

    3 large peaches, sliced 

     

    1 cup blueberries 

     

    2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided 

     

    1/2 teaspoon salt 

     

    2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened 

     

    2 tablespoon apricot preserves 

     

    1 tablespoon water 

     

    Vanilla ice cream for serving, optional 

     

     

     

  • Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

     

  • Roll pastry out on a lightly floured work surface to a 12-by-14 inch rectangle. Using a sharp knife, score the dough to form a 1-inch border. Prick the dough inside the border using the tines of a fork. 

     

  • Sprinkle the border with 1 tablespoon coarse sugar. Refrigerate 10 minutes then bake until puffed and golden brown, 10-15 minutes. 

     

  • In a large bowl, gently toss peach slices and blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour and the remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and salt. 

     

  • Remove crust from oven when it's puffed and golden brown. Using a fork, gently press down the inside border of the dough. 

     

  • In a small bowl, whip together softened cream cheese with remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar using a hand mixer on medium speed. Gently spread the cream cheese in a thin layer over crust inside border. 

     

  • Top crust with fruit mixture and arrange as desired. Bake until fruit is tender, 15-20 minutes. If crust begins to brown too quickly, tent loosely with foil. 

     

  • Remove from oven and turn oven to broil. In a small bowl, vigorously stir together apricot preserves and water until thinned. Brush crust and fruit with preserves. Return to oven 1-2 minutes until lightly caramelized being careful not to burn the crust. 

     

  • Remove tart from oven and set on a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired. 

     

    (Source: foodbabbles.com, adapted from Delishhh)

     

  • Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

     

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