At some point in your life, you probably encountered The Perfect Peach: a fragrance that beckons you from five paces away, fuzzy scarlet-mottled skin yielding to deep-yellow flesh that’s perfectly sweet with just a hint of acidity, and oh, the juice! After that, you approach every peach with a mixture of longing and apprehension, hoping every time that the fruit can measure up to your ideal.
The peach that lingers in my memory came from a roadside stand we happened upon during a family car trip up the California coast. We bought a few peaches to snack on, and when we finally bit into them 15 minutes up the road, we turned the car right back around to get some more. That was many years ago, and every summer since, I haunt the farmer’s market trying to repeat the experience.
When I’ve been lucky enough to find peaches that are (almost) as good, I hate to do anything at all to change their flavor, even something as simple as baking them in a cobbler or a pie. For these times, peach shortcake is the answer. Fresh, unadorned peaches spooned over rich, lightly sweetened biscuits and a scoop of vanilla ice cream is my idea of summer bliss.
Here’s what other Martha Stewart staffers are doing with their peaches this summer.
“While visiting my friend Jessica in Washington, DC, we slightly modified this Blueberry Crisp to include pecans and farmers’ market peaches.”
–Ashley Little, Associate Digital Editor
“Last weekend I made peach chutney with bourbon, cilantro, jalapeno, star anise, and cardamom. I served it with grilled pork chops.”
– Regan Dodson, Test Kitchen Manager
“Love this Peach Custard Pie recipe. Peach and vanilla is such a great combination.”
–Jennifer Aaronson, Food and Entertaining Editorial Director
“I just made this Peaches and Cream Bundt cake and it was delicious (could have used even more peaches, though).
Oh, also, with peaches, my favorite thing to make is a salad with sliced tomatoes, peaches, cilantro, a little red onion, lots of lime juice, and olive oil. The fruit has to be really good for it to work, but when it does, it is, like Mark Bittman says, ‘astonishing.’”
–Miranda Crowell, Deputy Editor“I made these peach-bourbon hand pies for my sister’s girlfriend’s birthday party! We had a picnic in Prospect Park, and they were a perfect portable treat. Everyone snatched them up, Jenny had to hide a few in her bag so she wouldn’t miss out.”
–Paulie Dibner, Art Department Assistant
“I prefer to just eat my peaches — no nonsense, just juice all over my hands and chin.”
–Molly Bloom, Copy Editor
Need more peach recipes? We have a whole bushel of them in our Seasonal Produce Recipe Guide.