Dessert? Breakfast? You Decide.

You may have picked up on this  (especially if we’re friends outside of the internet), but dessert for breakfast is something that I endorse wholeheartedly.

Apple crisp? That’s apples and oatmeal, which totally equals breakfast in my book. Fruit pie? I’ve been doing that since I was a kid. After all, there’s no way that’s any worse than having a bowl of Frosted Flakes. I’d argue that it’s better for you than most boxed cereals, actually.

I’ve even gone as far as having coffee ice cream in the morning, but I’ll admit that’s a little more of a stretch. However, that’s one of the perks of being an adult. Just like calling chocolate waffles “breakfast for dinner” when you know they’re really just brownies. Ha. 😉

Either way, when I saw Deb’s Apricot Breakfast Crisp, I was all in. Crisp would be an excellent addition to our busy weekday mornings. Except for one tiny detail: Apricots (or peaches, which I prefer) aren’t in season. Even worse: they won’t be for MONTHS, and there’s almost nothing more disappointing than biting into tasteless off-season fruit. (Or, as Kirsten points out, a flavorless off-season tomato.) 

I spend hot summer days picking and preserving fruit just for moments like this though. Last summer I canned 14 quarts of peaches (along with several jars of peach jam), so I figured that I’d be able to use some of them in a “breakfast crisp.”

I drained a jar of peaches and weighed the fruit, which came to just over a pound. Perfect! I dumped the peaches in the bottom of a 1-1/2 quart dish, added the sugar/flour mixture and made the topping. I think the entire process took less than 10 minutes. Then it took a quite spin in the hot oven, and bam! My Sunday afternoon baking was complete.

Of course, there was no way that I could convince Andy to save all of the crisp for Monday morning. He had to sample some that evening, which, of course, meant that I had to sample some too. And true to form, the crisp lasted about 24 hours in our house, which meant that we got one breakfast out of it. Maybe a double batch should be in our future.

Peach Breakfast Crisp 2

Peach Breakfast Crisp

For the fruit filling:
1 quart of peaches, drained (use a pound of fresh peaches if they’re in season where you live)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon AP flour
Pinch of nutmeg

For the topping:
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup AP flour
Generous pinch of kosher salt
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
Pinch of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Place the peaches in the bottom of a small baking dish. (I used a 1-1/2 quart dish; Deb recommends a 1-quart gratin dish.) In a small bowl, mix together the 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon of flour and a pinch of nutmeg. Sprinkle the flour-sugar-spice mixture over the peaches and gently stir until they are all covered.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the sugar and then the oats, flour, almonds and salt. Stir until the mixture clumps together. (I’ll go ahead and admit that mine never formed large clumps like Deb said, but I figured it didn’t really matter.)

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the topping is browned and your kitchen smells amazing. Serve warm or cold, with a scoop of yogurt for breakfast or ice cream for dessert.

From the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Click here for a printable version.


Summer in a Jar

I feel as though I’m in produce overload right now. Everything seems to be ripening at the same time! Our CSA has blessed us with more cucumbers than two people can eat, so I HAVE to make pickles soon, and I’m getting at least three pounds off our green beans every three days. Oh, and the tomatoes started ripening – I picked 10 of them yesterday. We won’t even talk about the squash that just keeps coming.

And then we have the peaches and blueberries that we ordered. I put 15 lbs. of blueberries in the freeze and made a pie and a blueberry version of this cake, Still need to make muffins… maybe tonight after work. And I did can two batches of peaches – you know, so I can make things like peach pie and ice cream on dreary winter days. After all, it’s no secret that I love peaches. (So much so, that I asked for peach trees for my birthday this year! Here’s hoping they survive our Wisconsin winter!) And then I made jam as well.

What I love most about this recipe is the fact that it goes in freezer, which means it saves me a TON of time. I don’t have to bring a giant kettle of water up to a boil and spend hours processing jars. Simply peel and crush your peaches, cook for a few minutes and ladle into freezer-safe containers. Bam! You’ve captured summer in a jar, and left yourself some time to enjoy the little bit of summer that remains. (Or you can move on to the giant pile of green beans in the fridge.) 😀


Peach Freezer Jam

5 cups of crushed peaches, peeled and pitted*
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup low-sugar powdered pectin (I used the Ball variety, as the store was out of the Sure-Jel in the pink box.)
1/3 cup lemon juice

Wash, rinse and dry seven 8-ounce freezer-safe containers. (I use glass jam jars, and since I only had five 8-ounce jars, I filled one pint jar as well.) Set aside.

In a large pot, combine the fruit and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar and pectin. Pour into the hot fruit and stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture has come back up to a boil that you can’t stir down. Allow mixture to boil for 1 minute, stirring as needed to keep it from sticking. Remove from heat.

Ladle jam into prepared containers, being sure to leave at least 1/2″ headspace, and allow to cool to room temperature before freezing. Store in the freezer.

From Everyday Food Magazine, September 2011

*I slipped my peaches into a boiling water bath for a minute or so to remove the skins, then roughly chopped them. I crushed some of the peaches with my hands before they started cooking and then used a potato masher to mush them down further. As you can see, I left my jam rather chunky, but that’s just a personal preference. 

Click here for a printable version.

Millions of peaches…

…peaches for me (come on, you know you’re singing the rest of the song with me now). You know that entire bushel of peaches I had? Well, I couldn’t let the summer go by without at least testing that peach wine cooler recipe I saw. And I knew that Karen would be more than willing to give this a try with me. (Side note: I realize that my posts make it sound like all we do is get together to try out new drinks. That’s not true. Sometimes we do other things, like frost cakes and eat ice cream.) 

The original recipe called for two ounces of peach schnapps. Well, I must not be familiar enough with the liquor section at my grocery store, because I was unable to find a bottle of schnapps. And after thinking about it some more, I decided that I didn’t want to buy an entire bottle for just a couple ounces. What would I do with the rest? It’s not like vodka, which I could turn into vanilla. (And yes, I do turn vodka into vanilla. It’s wonderful. More on that another day.) Instead, we decided to add some vanilla and a couple of extra peaches to the wine coolers instead of the schnapps. I also halved the recipe, and it was the perfect amount for four glasses. I’ve noted these changes below; head on over to Annie’s site to see the original recipe!

I realize it’s not the prettiest picture. I blame the lack of daylight and the fact that it was after 10 p.m. when we finally got around to drinking/photographing these.

Peach Wine Coolers

12 ounces of fresh peaches, peeled and halved
1 750ml bottle of semi-sweet white wine (I tried FlipFlop’s Riesling for this batch.) 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch salt
Extra peach slices for garnish

In a blender, combine the peaches, one cup of wine, vanilla and salt. Puree until the mixture is smooth. Add in the remaining wine and chill for an hour or two.

Serve over ice, garnished with peach slices.

From Annie’s Eats

Summer Loving

The calendar can say that it’s still spring all it wants, but no one would deny that we’ve been having some serious summer-like weather lately. The kind of weather where all you want is to sit in the shade, with your feet in the water and enjoy with a cold glass of lemonade. Or some ice cream. (Or both…) 

This ice cream is one of the easier recipes that I’ve tried. It’s not custard-based, so there’s no hassle with cooking eggs, and it’s light, fluffy and full of peachy goodness. It could be as creamy or as chunky as you’d like. (We are all about the fruit over here, so I tried to leave a decent number of peach chunks.) I mixed up the ice cream base before work one morning, and then took it to Karen’s so we could enjoy it as a post-caterpillar cake treat. We paired with rhubarb crunch that night, but it would be good on its own, or awesome with a slice of peach pie.

I used our home-canned peaches for this, instead of fresh ones, since we are still a few weeks away from peach season. Since my peaches were already sweetened and cooked from the canning process, I skipped the sugar water step in Annie’s recipe. If you’re using fresh peaches, see her post and notes for how to do that.

Peach Ice Cream

1 quart of peaches, chopped, juices reserved
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
lemon juice

In a large bowl (or blender), combine the peaches, sour cream, whipping cream, vanilla and a few drops of lemon juice. Gently stir to combine the ingredients, and then use the pulse setting on the blender to thoroughly mix things. (I use my immersion blender for this, and I think it’s so much easier to handle/clean/deal with than the large stand blender.) Pulse the mixture until you get to your desired consistency. Add some reserved peach juice to bring the mixture to your desired sweetness level. (I added about 1/4 cup of peach syrup.)

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until chilled through (at least 2 hours). Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

From Annie’s Eats 

Easy as… pie?

Let me just start by saying that I’m not at all sure where that saying came from. Sure, it sounds good, but let’s face it, not all pies are easy. Particularly when it comes to the crust part. Something so basic shouldn’t be so hard, right? I mean, it’s just flour, butter, salt and water, right?

Wrong. At least for me. One of my greatest frustrations stems from the fact that I can’t make a decent pie crust without using shortening. Which is why we’re not going to talk about pie crust tonight. We’re going to talk about pie filling. Peach and raspberry pie filling, to be exact.

Back in March, I saw this recipe for a raspberry peach pie. Two of my favorite fruits, rolled into one tasty dessert. I wasn’t going to let my lack of pie-crust skills stand in my way! (Full disclosure: I didn’t use the pie crust recipe from Delish; I didn’t have the ingredients on hand. Maybe I’ll try it at some point.) 

Raspberry Peach Pie

Pie dough for a double-crust pie (use your own favorite; I’m not posting a recipe for one until I conquer it myself!) 
6 cups peaches, sliced and drained, if using canned (I used my home-canned peaches.) 
1 cup raspberries, thawed if using frozen (which I did, because, come on, it was March in Wisconsin. Fresh ones would have cost as much as a gallon of gas a fortune.) 
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg white, beaten
1 teaspoon sugar

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, combine peaches, raspberries, sugar and lemon juice. Toss gently to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Place the fruit mixture in a colander set over a bowl. Let the fruit juices drain into the bowl for about 30 minutes (or as long as you can stand it; I think I got impatient about 25 minutes into the process and quit waiting).

Pour the collected juice into a saucepan and heat over medium heat, cooking until the juice has reduced slightly and darkened in color (probably about 5 minutes). Pour the juice over the reserved fruit and add the cornstarch to the fruit/juice mixture. Toss gently to coat all the fruit and dissolve the cornstarch.

Roll out the pie dough and line the bottom of a 9″ pie pan. Pour the fruit/juice mixture into the pie pan. (Be sure you use a 9″ or larger pan. I did not, and there was significant flowage over the side of the pan, resulting in a lot of shrieking and “Oh NO! STOP! BACK IN THE PAN! EEEK!” which Andy did an excellent job of ignoring.) Roll out the top crust and place it over the fruit. Crimp the edges of the crust together and cut steam vents in the top. Brush the top with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until crust is golden brown and pie juices are hot and bubbly. (I’d recommend baking this over a cookie sheet, unless you’re really looking forward to cleaning the inside of your oven…) If the crust browns too quickly, cover with foil. Remove pie from the oven and let cool for an hour or so before serving.

From Delish

Feels like summertime

Well, maybe “feels” is a bit optimistic. We’re in the middle of one of the coldest weeks of the year here (yay for Wisconsin winters!). Snow, negative temperatures (let’s not even talk about that wind chill factor), you get the idea.  Warm breezes and fresh fruit were just a faint memory now… until I opened a quart of peaches that I canned this summer. Sweet, golden, juicy peaches. Yum.

I love peaches in almost every form, but one of my favorite ways to enjoy them is peach pie. That’s probably because my mom makes amazing pies. Peach, apple, strawberry, chocolate, blueberry, the list goes on and on. I grew up on this peach pie, and not only is it good, it’s incredibly easy. Easy enough where it took me less than 20 minutes to put it together this morning. (Of course, I had a batch of pie crust dough waiting in the freezer, so that sped up the process, but still. It’s as close to ‘dump and go’ as a pie gets, I think.)

Mom's Peach Pie

Peach Pie 

1 1/2 quarts peaches, sliced, juices (if using canned) reserved
1 unbaked single pie shell (9″)
1/3 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. cold butter

Preheat the oven to 400. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Spread about half of the butter/sugar/flour mixture in the bottom of the pie shell. Layer the peach slices over the mixture until the pie pan is full. Top the peaches with the remaining butter/sugar/flour mixture. Drizzle two tablespoons of reserved juice (or water, if using fresh peaches) over the pie. Bake 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, if desired (and who doesn’t desire ice cream?).

From: my mom