Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Heavenly Peach Delight

Heavenly Peach Delight

Dorcas Annette Walker

This week I’m going to share with you my favorite peach dessert. It is a recipe that was passed to me from Granny a couple of years ago and without fail I make it at least once a summer when the peaches are ripe. I also make up a couple batches of fresh peach freezer jam every year to preserve summer days. One minister had his first taste of peach freezer jam at my table and instantly fell in love on the spot. He declared that my peach jam was good enough to drink. To his wife’s embarrassment he went from layering peach jam liberally on his rolls to eating spoonfuls of jam savoring each mouthful. It was the greatest compliment of my cooking that I have ever received.

Peaches are considered to be the Queen of the fruits and are second only to apples in popularity. Although the peach’s botanical name suggests that the peach is native to Persia, peaches originated in China and are mentioned as far back as the tenth century B.C. as the favored fruit of the emperors. The peach plays an important part in Chinese tradition and is symbolic of long life. The peach was brought to America in the sixteenth century and then on to England and France in the seventeenth century. In Queen Victoria’s day no meal was considered complete without a fresh peach presented on a fancy cotton napkin. Even though Thomas Jefferson had peach trees at Monticello, the United States did not begin commercial production of peaches until the nineteenth century. Although the southern states lead in commercial production, peaches are also produced in California, Michigan, and Colorado. China and Greece are the major peach producers outside the United States.

Peach trees are deciduous producing pink flowers in the early spring that form into fruit by late summer with red-brown seeds. While there are hundreds of different peach varieties basically there are only two types of peach trees; the freestones and the clingstones. Peach trees have a limited range as they have a chilling requirement and yet are not cold-hardy while being subject to insect pests and disease. The fruit has a short storage life and has to be kept in temperatures near 32F in a high-humidity atmosphere to preserve quality.

Peaches are delicious eaten fresh or sliced, sprinkled with sugar, and cream. While the fruit is safe to eat peach pits are poisonous. Peaches are also used in ice cream, pies, cobblers, shortcakes, preserves, and mixed fruit desserts. Fresh peaches contain antioxidant vitamins of A and C along with potassium and fiber.

My Heavenly Peach Delight is a must-have summer dessert. With its cream cheese filling sandwiched by a graham cracker crust on the bottom and topped with fresh peaches swimming in a clear peach glaze, each bite is a culinary delight. The Heavenly Peach Delight takes around thirty total minutes to prepare and this recipe serves sixteen.

Heavenly Peach Delight

Make a graham cracker crust in the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish by mixing together:
1 pkg graham crackers (crumbled)
1 stick margarine (melted)
1 tb sugar
Bake at 350º for ten minutes and cool.

Beat together with a mixer until smooth:
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
1 c powdered sugar
1 (16 oz) cool whip
1 tsp vanilla
Layer over cooled graham cracker crust.

In a large saucepan bring to a boil until thick and clear:
1 c sugar
1 c water
3 tb cornstarch
Take off the stove and stir in until dissolved:
1 (3 oz) box of peach jello
Finish by folding in:
4 c peeled and sliced fresh peaches
Pour over the cream cheese filling. Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving!

Weekly tip: To keep your refrigerator smelling fresh, place a box of baking soda (with the top removed) on a middle shelf. Replace twice a year!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, syndicated columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net For more recipes check out her Creative Mountain Cookin page at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com


jeanne said...

I've got to try this one.. It looks delicious like all your other ones too...
I love peaches, so this is a winner for me...thank you...

Dorcas Annette Walker said...

Thanks, Jeanne!
You won't be disappointed- I promise. I love peaches too.