This is the time of year when Ontario’s peach trees are heavy with juicy, succulent fruit that is being picked as fast as can be to be piled into baskets and trucked to the city markets for us to buy.
One of the best uses for really ripe peaches, especially those that are bruised is to puree them up with some juice and make ice pops.
Even better, puree them with a little vanilla ice cream and make peach creamsicles. Or don’t freeze them at all and have peach milkshakes.
Eaten out of hand they can’t be beat but they really shine when paired with some other tastes and textures. Sliced firm peaches with aged Comte cheese and almonds is a beautiful combination, maybe add a little runny brie in there for another texture on the plate. Enjoy this cheese and fruit board with some refreshing Peach Bellinis.
For dinnertime you can take peaches that aren’t fully ripe and grill them to bring out their sweetness. These would go great as is with pork or chicken, or they can be grilled and chopped into a spicy peach chutney.
You can use peaches in cobblers and crumbles just like you would apples or pears, but my favourite recipe for peaches has to be this lattice-topped pie by Anna Olson that incorporates plump tart blackberries into the mix. Not only is this a beautiful way to show off the local harvest, it is also a chance to practice your skills doing lattice topped pies.
Peach Blackberry Pie by Anna Olson
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 8 peaches, peeled and sliced (I find that peeling isn’t really necessary and makes for quicker pie prep)
- 2 cups blackberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 egg, mixed with 2 tbsp cold water, for brushing
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Combine flour and salt and use a pastry cutter to incorporate butter until you achieve a coarse, mealy texture.
- Mix water and lemon juice and add to flour. Blend until dough comes together. Shape dough into a ball, flatten, wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Divide dough in half.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 piece of dough to 1/4-inch thick. Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry leaving edges overhanging. Chill while preparing filling.
Filling & Making the Lattice Top
- Toss peaches and blackberries with sugar, flour, lemon zest, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Spoon fruit into pie pan and dot with butter.
- Roll out second piece of dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a paring knife, cut 10 strips of dough 3/4 –inch thick.
- To make the lattice, place 5 strips side by side on top of the filling, leave 1/2 inch of space between them.
- Fold back 3 alternate strips of dough halfway back. Place a center cross strip laying over the 2 flat strips of dough. Return the 3 folded strips to their flat position.
- Repeat the first step, folding back the 2 alternate strips and repeat process until you have strips woven in.
- Trim edges of crust, leaving an inch hanging over. Turn bottom crust over edges of strips and crimp together with a fork.
- Brush pie with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes on a baking sheet (to catch drips) until golden brown.