Saturday, July 14, 2012

Local Peaches French Dessert!

It's peach season right now in San Antonio!  They are in the grocery stores, Farmer's Markets, and along roadside stands.  I used to be a bit snobby about the wonderful peaches we grew in Colorado.  Orchards were a regular industry there, and all summer and through the fall we had incomparable (we thought!) apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, and apples.  Sometimes, when we get to take a trip back there in summer, it is such a treat to enjoy those luscious fruits again.  They taste even better than we remember! 
Texas peaches are a bit smaller than Colorado peaches and their texture is a little different.  They are wonderfully tasty though, and I think even better than Colorado peaches in baked items.  Maybe that's why peach cobbler is so popular here! 
     The other "event" at my house these days (with Ben) is the big bicycle race in France, "le Tour" !  Ha!  Well, a bicycle race isn't my idea of exciting spectator sport, but I have to admit that it is very fun to watch the gorgeous French scenery go by as they cycle throughout the country.  The people along the roadsides are crazy, and that's rather amusing also! 
     Anyway, so, inspired by our lovely local peaches and the French countryside, I decided to try making a French peach clafoutis.  Traditionally, this dessert is made with sweet cherries, but there are all kinds of variations and this is my take on it.  A clafoutis is super easy to make and is a recipe that probably won't require a trip to the grocery store because the ingredients are very basic.  It bakes up into a kind of cakey-custard surrounding the juicy peaches.  I like to serve it barely warm or cold.  Ben likes it for breakfast the next morning!  A sprinkle of powdered sugar is traditional right before serving.  Bon appetit!

Peach Clafoutis (serves 6)
1 lb. small, ripe peaches, peeled (see note), and halved
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup flour
1-1/4 cup whole milk
butter, softened

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Use some softened butter to coat a 9-inch, deep pie plate generously.  Place the peach halves, cut side down, in the pie plate. 
Beat the eggs until foamy (I use the whip attachment on the stand mixer, but any kind of mixer will work), then add the sugar and beat until light (around a minute).  Add the salt and almond extract and continue beating.  Add the flour and beat again until everything is well incorporated,  then pour in the milk and beat until blended.  Pour over the peaches and bake for 1 hour.  It should be puffy, browned, and set.  A knife inserted in the center area (between the peaches) should come out clean. 
Allow the clafoutis to cool and serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Note:  To peel peaches, place them in briskly boiling water for 30-40 seconds.  Remove to a colander.  Use a knife to start, but the peels will pull off easily.

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