The fresh peaches are in! This juicy, sweet summertime fruit is in abundance in the food stores and produce stands. Peaches tend to be associated with summer, since of course, that's when the fresh peaches are readily available. From now until around the first of September, peaches are plentiful.
There's some interesting nutritional information about peaches. According to "The Farmer's Cookbook" by Mitzi Perdue, there's some fascinating background information about what a peach provides in terms of nutrients. For one, a peach provides 1/4 of the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin A and 10 percent of the recommended vitamin C. It also contains minerals, fiber, and a significant amount of B vitamins. Here's something you may not have thought of regarding peaches: according to this same book, a fresh peach contains 90% water, has very little sodium and no additives or preservatives. Because of its high water content, a fresh peach can be thirst-quenching on a hot summer day.
How can you tell when a peach is ripe? Most people believe it's the pretty pink blush that indicates ripeness. However, this isn't the case! When shopping for peaches, look for a peach that looks full and plump. I usually pick one up and can tell by touch if it's ripe or not. If it has some "give" to it when you very gently squeeze it, it's ripe. Otherwise, it wouldn't be. If you should by chance get some peaches that aren't as ripe as you'd like, simply place in a loosely-closed bag for a day or so. Unripened peaches will keep for a few days under refrigeration. But, for the best flavor, you'd want to serve them at room temperature.
Now that you have an education on peaches, let's make something with them! The recipe I'm passing along is for a "Peach Praline Pie". This is a pie that has the peaches layered with a brown sugar and pecan mixture. This is fast to put together and is a nice change from the regular peach pie.
You'll see in the recipe that it calls for tapioca. In the event that you're not familiar with this ingredient, this is a thickening agent. This can be found in grocery's baking section near the cornstarch. It's a granulated thickening agent that is where we get tapioca pudding!
When preparing your peaches for this pie, taste the peaches before you begin the pie. If the peaches are sour, add sugar to taste. You'll be adding more sugar in the recipe, so you may not want to add a lot, unless the peaches are very sour. The peaches are combined with sugar and the tapioca. While this stands, flour and brown sugar are combined, then butter is cut in to make a crumbly mixture. To this, you add chopped pecans. This mixture is layered with the peach mixture in the pie shell then it's baked. It has two baking times: 10 minutes at 450 degrees then 20 minutes at 350 degrees. When it's cool, serve this with ice cream, whipped cream or just plain. It's a flavorful pie!
Last year, I shared a recipe for another peach dessert, "Peach Delight", which is almost like cheesecake with peaches on it. To get this recipe, follow this link:
For a "southern twist" on peach pie, this pie will be a great change!
PEACH PRALINE PIE
- 4 cups sliced peaches
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbls. tapioca
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
Mix the peaches, sugar and tapioca in a large bowl. Set aside and let stand while continuing with the recipe. Combine flour and brown sugar in a small bowl. Cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle 1/3 of this topping mixture over the bottom of an unbaked pastry shell. Top with the peach mixture and sprinkle the remaining topping over the peaches. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool oven to 350 degrees and bake an additional 20 minutes. Cool and serve with ice cream, whipped cream or plain. Yield: 6-8 servings.