Monday, August 20, 2012

Meatless Monday: Peach Paradise

Last week, in honor of National Peach Month, I presented a few facts about the much-loved peach, which arrived in this country, like so many good things, from somewhere else.

I had just purchased my first till of local peaches of the season. They were ripening on the counter as I wrote. I promised to let you know what I made with them. The answer is – Paradise!

Paradise is the Joy of Cooking’s version of fruit crisp, found in the 1973 paperback version on page 607, under the title Fresh Fruit Crisp or Paradise. Paradise it is — easy to make, and simply delicious, especially when warm. And the JoC version uses about half the butter of most other crisp recipes. 

My dog-eared and grease-stained copy of the Joy of Cooking, by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, was once my only cookbook. Today I still return to it for three essential recipes — Paradise, Rich Sour Cream Coffee Cake (made with Greek yogurt and wheat germ in my version), and brownies Cockaigne, IMHO the only recipe to use when brownies are required for a crowd. 

Now, back to Paradise. The recipe is below – Original instructions followed by my tweaks in brackets.

Paradise, warm from the oven, crunchy and brown on top.

  • Preheat your oven to 375° [350° if using a pyrex dish]
  • Peel 4 cups tart apples, or the same amount of peaches, slightly sugared rhubarb, or pitted cherries. [5 large, just ripe, peaches]
  • Slice into the baking dish or pie pan. [9 inch square pyrex dish]
  • Season with two tablespoons lemon juice or kirsch, optional. [Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons lemon juice.]
  • Measure into a mixing bowl the following:
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour [1/4  flour + 1/4 cup quick oats + 1/4 cup chopped pecans]
    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar [dark]
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt, if using unsalted butter [Omit in either case.]
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional [NOT optional]
  • Stir together to combine.
  • Cut 1/2 stick butter into small pieces. Combine with dry ingredients using your fingers until the mixture is crumbly.
  • Spread over the peaches.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly.
  • Serve warm, with sweet or cultured sour cream [One scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a dollop of whipped cream. Cabot’s from a can is fine.]

May you find the time to enjoy a taste of Paradise this week…

Paradise in a serving dish, but not for long…

Happy Monday. Thanks for reading. 

I often blog on food, food issues, or topics related to growing things on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

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