Peaches in the summer are to me what pumpkin is to others in the fall. They are, by far, my favourite summer fruit and I’ve been very lucky to live in two States that grow peaches. Getting a locally grown, red hued peach, ripe off the tree has been fairly easy for me.
A few years back when we still lived in Texas and the children were still adorably little, we would regularly visit my father in law in San Antonio. For those not familiar with San Antonio, this sprawling city is about a 2½ hours drive west of Houston.
Like all cities, there are parts of San Antonio that I’m perfectly happy not visiting but I do love driving further west; a little outside of San Antonio, and getting into the Hill Country. Here the terrain is hilly; endless rolling hills dotted with trees, rocks and magnificent homes. The roads wind through these hills, and these aren’t small mountainous roads by any means, but they are still fun to drive on.
One summer on a trip to San Antonio, I researched a farm where we could take the children to go and pick Hill Country peaches. It was a cute little peach orchard an hour or so outside of San Antonio. The day was hot and humid, like most Texas days, but the children didn’t care and despite the sweat trickling down their faces, and rosy, ruddy cheeks that rivalled the ripest peach, they had a blast amongst the trees picking peaches. The hardest part was trying to contain the peach picking. They were growing crazy because one peach looked better than the last and we had to have it. By the end, we had 2 or 3 huge cases of beautiful, rosy peaches.
Our harvest was shared amongst family and the rest we devoured straight up; sticky, warm, peach juices dripping down our faces and arms. Some made into pie and a cobbler but the hardest thing about ripe peaches is having any left to actually bake anything!
Here in Colorado, we are blessed with our High Country or Western Slope peaches. The hot desert days and cool mountain nights, along with high altitude and the melted snow that feeds the mountain springs, make for some of the best peaches I have ever tasted. If there is one local food you try when you visit here during the summer, it’s a Western Slope peach. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that there is nothing sweeter and juicier. We have plenty of other great mountain grown produce too, but personally, there’s nothing like the peach.
I’m a little quirky when it comes to food; picky, particular and just down right weird at times. I don’t like lamb though I grew up eating it, I can’t handle seafood and am very jealous of all those folks who can order huge bowls of bouillabaisse and happily slurp away. I envy those ordering and enjoying platefuls of modules frites (told you I was hanging out at French bistros all summer).
Those are pretty particular dishes though and I know there are many people who don’t like seafood and lamb. As you all know, and the dead giveaway’s in the title of this website…I LOVE coffee. BUT, I don’t like anything made with coffee (ice cream, mocha anything, custard, etc) The one exception being tiramisu. I don’t like cold coffee either. I love chocolate, but am not really a fan of chocolate baked goods. Once in a while I’ll have cake or brownies but on the whole, give me chocolate straight up (hence the obvious shortage of chocolate recipes on this blog!)
Apart from jam (and only some jam) I don’t like my berries cooked. I love apples cooked and baked but hardly eat them raw, and I don’t like cooked carrots…
Yes, it’s hard living with me some times 🙂
Peaches, however, are one fruit I can handle both straight from the tree or baked in a delicious cobbler or pie. So when peach season arrives, I’m happy.
We actually have a peach festival that takes place just in the next town over, and by the next town I mean, cross the main road and we’re there. I haven’t been able to go all these years because I work on Saturday and Sunday is busy running errands. I still get my peach fix though.
I try to utilise peaches as much as I can all season long. Eating them out of hand is the easiest and the most delicious way of enjoying ripe, sweet peaches. At work, I make salsas and relishes to serve on top of crostini.
To highlight some of the convection aspects of ovens, I’ve been roasting the peaches. They get so soft and sweet and are perfect for eating with ice cream, on crostini or as a side with meats. I’ve been adding various herbs, chillies or honey to compliment the fruity, peach flavour.
This past weekend, I roasted some peaches tossed with olive oil and fresh sage. Once they were soft and lightly browned, I pulled them out of the oven and drizzled a little honey and more fresh sage over the top. They were amazing. I had a bunch left over and I never waste Colorado peaches so I brought them home and the mind went to work.
I pulled out some puff pastry from the freezer, added some goat cheese and here they are: Honey Roasted Peach and Goat Cheese Tartlets.
If you can find Colorado peaches, those are the ones to use. Otherwise, I guess Georgia peaches will work 🙂
- Roasted Peaches
- 4-5 large peaches, halved, pitted and sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5-6 sage leaves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 pound/455g puff pastry sheets
- 5oz/145g Goat's cheese
- Fresh sage leaves for garnishing
- Preheat oven to 400F/200C (convection or conventional)
- Place a large sheet pan in the oven to preheat.
- Toss the peaches with the olive oil and the chiffonaded sage leaves.
- Once the pan is hot, carefully toss the peaches onto the hot sheet pan.
- Roast the peaches for 15-25 minutes until soft and the edges are lightly browned.
- The convection oven will take less time so check at 15 minutes.
- Remove the roasted peaches from the oven and sprinkle the salt and drizzle the honey.
- At this point, you can serve the warm peaches with ice cream, on top of crostini with some feta cheese or as a side for grilled or roasted meats.
- Or keep aside as you roll out the pastry for the tartlets.
- I rolled out the puff pastry just a little, you don't want them too thin, and cut out 5" rounds. I made four tartlets and 8 little pockets.
- You should get 8 tartlets from 1 pound of pastry.
- Place the rounds on a parchment covered sheet pan.
- Place the sheet pan with the pastry rounds in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before proceeding to let the butter firm up again.
- Preheat the oven to 400F/200C
- Remove the pastry pounds from the fridge
- Leave a half inch border all around the puff pastry round and with a fork, dock the pastry.
- Add a heaping teaspoon of goats cheese in the centre of the pastry round.
- Arrange 3-5 peach slices on top of the goat's cheese.
- Sprinkle a few more crumbles of goat's cheese on top.
- Repeat with the other rounds.
- Place on the bottom and centre rack of the oven.
- Swap the trays half way during baking (15 minutes in)
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden browned and puffed.
- Remove from the oven, cool on the trays for 5 minutes and then move to a wire rack rack.
- Garnish with more fresh sage and a drizzle of honey, if desired.
- Enjoy warm.
I have it on good authority that these are really delicious. If you have some ripe peaches lying around, try these and tell me what you think.
What’s your favourite summer fruit or vegetable? Any weird food quirks?