Peachy Saturday, and Cake to Go With It

It isn’t summer if you haven’t had a ripe, juicy, Jersey peach.

Luckily, they’re much in abundance. And New Jersey, the 4th biggest peach producer in the States, has resources and an entire council devoted to making sure you get your peaches, and eat them, while they’re in season.

The council has organized a whole month of Peach Parties at restaurants, farmers’ markets and grocery stores. See their website for a full list of events and activities such as baking and cooking competitions (with peaches, of course), peach tastings, contests and raffles.

Montclair’s Farmers’ Market on Walnut St. hosts its Peach Party this Saturday, Aug. 13.

Here are some peachy facts to get your juices going, and I’ve shared a recipe further below:

-The peach is an intrepid traveler. It migrated from China to Iran, Europe, Latin America, arriving in North America in the 1600s

-In the United States, it was cultivated first in Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland

-The climate in New Jersey, described in a 1684 Scottish atlas as “the garden of the world,” suited peach cultivation and allowed a consistent crop

-NJ is the 4th biggest peach producer in the US, after California, South Carolina and Georgia.The state produces more than 100 varieties, 9 out of 10 of which are yellow fleshed.

-The local peach season runs from late July through September

-Peckish? A medium-sized peach has a small caloric impact – just 35 calories – but packs the good stuff -2.5g of fiber, 1.5g of protein and a healthy helping of Vitamins A and C and potassium.

-Need inspired ways of eating the peach? For $5, the NJ Peach Promotion Council will send you recipes.

If you just can’t wait, here’s an Upside-Down Peach Cake I made up at the weekend, to enormous success.

I had some batter left over, which I poured into mini cupcake molds, and later daubed the tops with peach jam (which, alas, I would have made had I not had two other day jobs and two kids).

What you need:

  • -Peaches, two ripe Jersey ones, sliced
  • -brown sugar, 1/2 cup (more for the baking dish)
  • -butter, 1 stick
  • -lemon, juice and rind of 1/2
  • -plain, unbleached flour, 3/4 cup
  • -baking soda, 1/2 tsp
  • -eggs, 2 (room temperature)
  • -cream or milk, 2 tbsp
  1. Preheat oven to 35oF. This amount serves 4.
  2. Prepare a baking dish. Dot the bottom with little cubes of butter, cut from 1/2 a stick. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top of the butter cubes – about 2-3 tbsp worth.
  3. Slice the peaches in whatever way you like and layer on top of the butter/sugar above. Set aside.
  4. In one bowl, whisk room-temperature butter with 1/2 cup brown sugar, adding the eggs and milk/cream once combined
  5. Continue whisking and add lemon juice and zest (and pinch of salt)
  6. In another bowl, sieve flour and baking soda together. Add this to the egg-sugar mixture. Combine thoroughly.
  7. Plonk flour batter onto the sliced peaches that are waiting in the baking dish
  8. Bake for about 40 minutes, or till cake springs back when poked (gently) and doesn’t leave an indent.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

 

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