The summer sweeties have been kissed with plenty of sunshine this year in Michigan, and now is the time to enjoy them. The crop is right on schedule and bountiful at roadside stands, farms, farmers markets and orchards. Because this summer has been unusually dry, you can expect this season’s fruit to be sweeter, growers say.
Mike Mitchell, manager at Erie Orchard and Cider Mill, about an hour south of downtown Detroit, expects peaches to be available through Labor Day.
“We have a great crop of peaches, and it’s a little better than last year,” Mitchell said. “We started with Early Red Havens, and now we are into the Red Haven.”
In a typical year, peaches can hang around until mid-September. Right now, most orchards are picking the Red Haven peach variety.
“It’s an old variety, been around since 1940 and was the first reliable freestone,” says Bob Tritten, district fruit educator for MSU Extension. “Currently, it is the most widely planted freestone peach variety worldwide.”
The Red Haven peach, also spelled “Redhaven,” is part of the family of Haven peach varieties. Red Haven peaches are unique to Michigan and were developed in South Haven on the west side of the state. The area is known for fruit growing because of its proximity to Lake Michigan.
“The Red Haven peach varieties were revolutionized in the Midwest because it was such a superior-quality peach,” Tritten says. “They eat well, ripen well and grow well.”
In southeast Michigan, Tritten says, there are a couple of dozen peach growers scattered from Monroe County through the Detroit area, and there’s a nice concentration of growers in Macomb and southern Lapeer counties.
Katrina Roy, co-owner of Westview Orchards in Macomb County’s Washington Township, says the 2018 growing season has been almost perfect. “Peaches love that sunshine and hot humid growing season,” she says.
Westview grows Red Havens, a variety that Roy acknowledges isn’t large in size, but “what they lack in size they make up for in flavor.”
“It’s a good-quality, fresh-eating, jam-making, quality product, and they are always dependable,” she says.
Peaches should keep about a week after they’ve been picked, Roy says. Once you bring them home, you can store them in refrigerator to stop the maturing. A few days before you’re ready to use them, Roy suggests putting a few peaches on the kitchen counter on a towel (with another towel on top) and leaving them to ripen for a few days.
“The towel helps keep the fruit flies at a minimum,” she says.
Don’t wash the peaches until you’re ready to use them, advises Roy. Washing them under warm water takes care of the peach fuzz, she says.
Serves: 8 / Prep time: 30 minutes / Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Unbleached all-purpose flour, for dusting
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed but still cold
1/4 cup light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 pounds ripe peaches (about 5), cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1 tablespoon bourbon, optional
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
Coarse sanding sugar
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with racks in top and bottom thirds, and a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet on bottom of oven to catch drips.
On a lightly floured sheet of parchment, unfold pastry; roll out to a 10- to 12-inch square. Center an 9- to 10-inch cake pan upside down on pastry; trace a circle around it with a paring knife. Remove pan; remove and discard excess pastry. Transfer parchment with pastry circle to a baking sheet. Create a crosshatch pattern by scoring lines, 2 inches apart, horizontally and vertically on pastry (do not cut through dough). Refrigerate 5 to 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add peaches and toss to coat. Stir in bourbon and vanilla. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch pie dish. Cover with parchment-lined foil; bake on lower rack 20 minutes.
Whisk egg with 1 teaspoon water. Brush over the pastry circle; sprinkle with sanding or turbinado sugar. Place baking sheet with pastry on top rack of oven. Bake until pastry is puffed and golden while fruit in dish is bubbling, about 35 to 40 minutes. (If pastry is browning too quickly, tent with foil.) Remove from oven; uncover fruit. Carefully place pastry circle on top of fruit and bake 10 minutes more. Let cool 15 minutes; serve with ice cream.
Adapted from marthastewart.com.
Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
Lime and Spice Peach Cobbler
Serves: 8 / Prep time: 30 minutes / Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
8 medium peaches, peeled and sliced (about 5 cups)
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold water
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons buttermilk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat an 8- or 9-inch square dish with cooking spray.
To make the filling: In a medium bowl, mix sugar, brown sugar, ginger, cornstarch, cinnamon and lime zest. Add peaches and lime juice. Toss to mix, taking care not to break up the fruit. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
To prepare the topping: In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and brown sugar until blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; beat into butter mixture. Beat in water just until crumbly. Stir in pecans; crumble over filling.
Whisk together egg yolk and buttermilk; brush carefully over crumb mixture. Bake until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbly, 35-40 minutes. Serve warm.
Adapted from allrecipes.com.
Testing by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
Peach Lassi Sorbet with Crushed Blackberries
Serves: 4 / Prep time: 20 minutes / Total time: 30 minutes plus 6 hours freezing time
According to Bon Appetit, the vodka in this recipes makes for a smoother sorbet with a less icy texture.
4 medium peaches, peeled, chopped, frozen (about 4 cups) or use frozen peaches
1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons vodka
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
6 ounces fresh blackberries, halved
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
In a food processor or blender, place the peaches, yogurt, vodka, salt and 1/4 cup honey and process until smooth. Pour peach mixture into a loaf pan (a metal pan will conduct cold more efficiently than tempered glass) and place a piece of parchment paper on top, pressing directly onto surface. Freeze until sorbet is firm, about 6 hours.
About 30 minutes before serving, place half the blackberries in a small bowl and lightly crush using a fork. Add lemon juice, remaining berries and remaining 2 tablespoons of honey and let sit, tossing occasionally, until berries have released some of their juices, about 20 minutes.
Scoop sorbet into bowls and top with macerated blackberries.
Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine, August 2018 issue. Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
Broiled Honey-Thyme Peaches with Balsamic Glaze
Serves: 8 / Prep time: 15 minutes / Total time: 30 minutes
4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
4 peaches, washed, halved and pitted
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1-2 tablespoons balsamic glaze or aged balsamic vinegar
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and turn the broiler to high.
Butter a broiler-safe 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Place peach halves cut side down in the dish. Broil until browned in spots, about 3 minutes, watching carefully to keep them from burning. Turn each peach over and drizzle with the melted butter and the honey. Sprinkle with the black pepper. Broil until browned and bubbling, about 4 to 5 more minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the thyme.
If serving as a dessert, scoop ice cream into bowl. Divide the peaches and the pan juices over the ice cream. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve.
You can also serve this as a side dish to grilled pork, chicken or fish minus without the ice cream.
Adapted from “Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering” by Joanna Gaines (William Morrow, $29.99).
Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
Grilled Peach Caprese
Serves: 6 / Prep time: 25 minutes / Total time: 45 minutes
3 peaches, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
8 ounce baguette, sliced 1/4-inch on the diagonal
Oil for brushing on peaches and bread
3 favorite vine-ripe tomatoes, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced and halved again
Fresh basil, torn into bite size pieces
Balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Preheat the grill to about medium. Brush peaches and bread slices with olive oil. Grill peaches until they just begin to soften and have nice grill marks. Grill the bread slices the same way.
Arrange grilled peach slices, alternating with tomato and mozzarella slices. Add basil and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with a few good pinches of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
From and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
Contact Susan Selasky: 313-222-6432 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @SusanMariecooks.
©2018 Susan Selasky
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