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Archive for Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Peaches make delightful desserts

August 27, 2003

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Nothing says summer more than desserts made with fresh fruit. Peaches, our delectable fuzzy friends now in high season, taste wonderful as a pie or cake ingredient, as well as by themselves.

The following two recipes are worth a trip to your local farmers' market to find peaches at their luscious best.

Fresh Peach Cheesecake

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For the crust:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1/4 cup granulated sugar

For the filling:

1 1/4 pounds cream cheese, softened (two 8-ounce packages plus 4 ounces)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon peach flavor (optional)

3 eggs

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup peeled and coarsely chopped fresh peaches

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray bottom of 9-inch springform pan lightly with vegetable pan spray.

For crust, stir together graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar in medium bowl; mix well. Press mixture onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cool.

Reduce heat to 250 degrees.

For filling, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy in large mixer bowl. Gradually beat in sugar until well blended. Add flour, vanilla, peach flavor, eggs and heavy cream; beat well. Gently stir in peaches. Pour into baked crust. Place shallow pan of water on bottom rack of oven. Place springform pan on cookie sheet in top half of oven. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes, or until set but still jiggly in the center. Turn oven off and leave cheesecake in oven with door ajar for 1 hour. Cool completely on wire rack, then refrigerate at least 4 hours. If desired garnish with fresh peaches and raspberries.

Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Easy Peach Cobbler

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8 cups peeled and sliced fresh or frozen peaches (three 16-ounce bags)

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cloves

Zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

1 refrigerated 9-inch pie crust

For the topping:

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss peaches with brown sugar, cornstarch, spices, lemon zest and, if desired, walnuts. Place in 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Roll pie crust into a 13-inch circle. With a sharp knife or pastry cutter cut 13 strips each about 3/4-inch wide. Lay half the strips of dough over the fruit filling, spacing them equally and parallel to each other. To weave the lattice, start at the outer edge and fold every other strip back on itself. Lay one of the remaining strips across those on the cobbler that aren't folded back. Return the pulled-back strips to their former position. Pull back alternate strips and place on the next crosspiece. Continue weaving strips of dough in this fashion until all are used.

For topping, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over cobbler. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until filling is bubbly and crust is lightly browned. Cool. Best eaten warm or at room temperature.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

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