Friday, September 10, 2010
You see, my crisp recipe includes rolled oats, so I rationalize peach crisp as a healthy breakfast alternative.
This year, I was starting to worry. I hadn't gotten around to putting up this filling and my farmer friends were telling me the peach season was quickly coming to an end.
Washington State Fruit Commission offered me a box of peaches, if I would just make them into something yummy, I'll admit, I jumped at the chance. Check out their Sweet Preservation website for some great canning resources.
While I thought pie filling was certain, I spent a few days contemplating making more salsa, or some jam with lemon verbena, or some fruit leather. Even pickled peaches. But I couldn't imagine a winter without peach crisp.
For this pie filling, I experimented with ClearJel, a modified food starch that is considered more stable than cornstarch by the USDA. It worked exactly the same as cornstarch, and now that I've sourced it through King Arthur, I'll be using it for all my canned pie fillings.
Cardamom Peach Pie Filling
5 cups peeled, sliced peaches
3 T water
1/2 c white sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
2 T lemon juice
3 T ClearJel
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger or galangal
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
Fruit Fresh, citric acid or additional lemon juice
For the spice blend, I opened cardamom pods and crushed the little black seeds in a mortar and pestle. I like the look of the bits of black seeds floating through the filling. Substitute ground cardamom if you must.
Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Dip the peaches in the boiling water for 30-60 seconds (the time depends on the ripeness and size of the peach - don't cook the peaches.) Scoop out of the boiling water and transfer to a cooler or a sink filled with ice water.
Make an X in the bottom of the peach and peel the skin off in four easy pieces. Remove the pit. Hopefully you have freestone peaches.
Cut the peaches into 8 slices and place in a large bowl with acidulated water (water to which you have added Fruit Fresh, citric acid or lemon juice)
In a large, non-reactive pot, stir the clear gel and sugar together. Add the water and spices and bring to a boil, stirring all the time to ensure the Clear Gel doesn't get lumpy. Add the peach slices and bring back up to a boil, cooking for five minutes.
Allow to sit, undisturbed, for 24 hours, then wash the jars well and store in your pantry until your next craving for summer occurs.
Easy Peach Crisp
3/4 c rolled oats
3/4 c flour
3/4 c sugar
8 T butter, cold
Zest of one lemon
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350°
Cut the butter into the flour, oats and sugar. You can pulse this in the food processor, but be careful not to grind up the oats.
Empty one quart of your pie filling into a deep pie dish or baking dish (9x9). Cover with the topping.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the filling is bubbling. Cool slightly before serving.