Sunday, July 31, 2011

What a Peach

I'm not a large person. Standing just over 5'1" (yes, that 1/4 inch makes a difference!), let's just say I'm actually pretty small. So perhaps it is not all that surprising that I like small things - dollhouse furniture, kittens, gelato spoons, and yes, tiny tupperware. In fact, my use of said compact containers my sophomore year of college, that my friends began referring to these (and later other things) as "Rachel-sized."

You are probably thinking, why is she telling us this, and what does it have to do with peaches. No, I have not stumbled upon some amazing petite peach. Instead, I have stumbled upon large quantities of the fruit. Working at a farmers market offers the tremendous benefit of supplying with (almost) more produce than I know what to do with. However, unlike on the west coast, the majority of the fruits are not certified organic.

The difference in climate is partly to blame for this discrepancy between east and west. Tree fruit on the Pacific coast tends to be grown in dry regions, such as the San Joaquin Valley in California and the eastern parts of Washington and Oregon. Conversely, on the Atlantic side of the country, fruit-producing areas are hot and humid during the summer months, the perfect weather to encourage fungi and insect pests that decimate crops. That said, my peach bounty comes from Toigo Orchards, which practices Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM does not prohibit the use of pesticides, but rather stresses the importance of synergies between different land management practices (such as cultivating beneficial insects).

With all that said, I still was left with this dilemma of peach abundance earlier today. I know, boohoo, poor Rachel. Alas, I am but one person (and everyone seems to be absent from my office this week) and I had a good many very very soft peaches needing immediate attention. So what did I do? Make a half-dozen Rachel-sized pies, of course!

Rachel-Sized Honeyed-Vanilla Peach Pies (7-8 pies; vg)
crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3-1/2 cup oil
1 tbs cider vinegar
water as needed to form a ball

1. Combine all ingredients but water until well incorporated. Add water little by little until the dough just forms a ball. Do not kneed or overwork.
2. Roll out dough on a silpat or wax paper until a little less that 1/4 inch thick. Cut out circles about 4in diameter. Place in greased large "deep dish" cupcake molds (about 2in diam)

filling
2 cups diced, very ripe, peaches
2 tbs honey or agave
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup tapioca starch

3. Combine all ingredients. Let sit for five minutes. Fill cupcake tin with fruit, but try to avoid the liquid.

crumble
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup pecans
1/3 cup raw sugar (could also use agave)
1/4 cup oil
2 tbs applesauce (optional)
2 tbs coconut (optional)

4. Mix together all ingredients. Crumble on top of mini pies.
5. Bake at 350F for 35-45 minutes, until fruit bubbles and crumble is lightly browned.

1 comment:

jkim5154 said...

mm looks delicious!