Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pretty As A Peach

How do you pass up a basket full of peaches at the Farmer's Market?  They smell like heaven, they look like perfection, they taste like manna and there are so many options - so much potential.

After our weekly shopping trip yesterday, I came home with another huge basket of peaches.  I just can't buy a few when the whole basket is calling my name.  Do you ever have that happen?  Yes, they speak to me.  They speak of warm summer days and memories and good things to come.  They hold promise.  There is creative potential in that basket.  There is hope and happiness.  You didn't know that about a simple peach did you?  Well, that is what I see when I look in that basket.  So, I picked the basket that called out for my attention and brought it home along with a lot of other wonderful summer goodness. We can talk about that later.  Right now, let's discuss these peaches.

I have already made a batch of peach preserves (incredible with biscuits), and I am sure there is another batch in this basket.  We have had sliced peaches on ice cream and several heavenly cobblers, but this time another idea came to me.  See?  Creative potential at it's finest!

What if I made a peach upside down cake like a pineapple upside down cake, but put my own spin on it?  Sounded good to me so this is what I did and let me tell you, it worked!  Here is the recipe and what you will need.


about 6 large ripe peaches (amount may vary)
1 yellow cake mix
1/2 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed down
1/2 to 2/3 cups granulated sugar
cinnamon, enough to sprinkle over topping
coconut, a few palms full
pecans, about a 1/2 cup chopped

1 9x13 baking pan

heat oven to 350

Slice peaches in uniform size, no more than 1 inch thick at widest point
put 1/2 to 2/3 cup granulated sugar over them (to draw out the juices).  Stir to distribute sugar.  If you don't have enough to cover the bottom of the pan, slice a few more peaches and stir into the butter/brown sugar mix in the pan.

Make yellow cake mix according to directions, set aside.

Melt 1/2 stick butter in 9x13 pan.  Remove pan from oven as soon as butter is melted.  Add brown sugar to butter and stir, it will be very thick and pasty.  Add peaches and mix in juice. Make sure to mash out any lumps in the brown sugar.   Distribute peach slices evenly over bottom of pan.  This is why uniform size is necessary, so that when you bake the cake, it will turn out of the pan and look pretty.

Now, add a few hands full of coconut.  (I didn't measure.  Oops)  Enough to distribute over entire pan, but not too thick.  Sprinkle nuts over coconut.  Evenly sprinkle with a little cinnamon.  Now, pour cake mix over the topping and use a spatula to make sure the cake batter covers all of the topping.   Put in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  It takes longer than the cake directions say because of all the topping.  It will get very brown, so don't be alarmed.  Remove from oven when cake is done.

Let the cake cool until you can put your hand on it and it is only slightly warm.  The edges should separate from the cake pan.  Now comes the tricky part.  Place a large tray upside down on the cake pan.  Pick the tray and the cake pan up and flip it over quickly to turn the cake right side up on the tray.  Good luck!  Your cake should look like the one above.  If you don't like coconut, or nuts, or either, just leave them out of the topping.  The peaches are delicious on their own.  We just happen to love all of the above and I tossed it all in the mix.  This cake is fabulous warm with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.  (It's also fabulous if it's not warm and there's no ice cream or whipped cream)  Talk about good summertime eating!  Oh yeah!!

Enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables of summer.  It may take a little effort to prepare so many of the wonderful things nature has provided for us, but your family will love you for it.  That's why summer bounty holds so many memories for me.   Think I'll go have a piece of summertime memory right now.  Hope you enjoy this recipe.  Make some memories for your family.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

“A Georgia peach, a real Georgia peach, a backyard great-grandmother's orchard peach, is as thickly furred as a sweater, and so fluent and sweet that once you bite through the flannel, it brings tears to your eyes.”
Melissa Fay Greene, ‘Praying for Sheetrock’

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