Two Summery Desserts with Peaches

It’s summer! Peach season! I grew up with peach trees in the backyard and my mom cutting out all the bug and worm eaten bits and sprinkling them with sugar. Here in Massachusetts we mostly get our peaches from the grocery store. Occasionally the farmer’s market has some.

But no matter how much we love peaches, we always end up with a few that get mushy before we get around to eating them. Enter the baked dessert, a great way to use up those peaches that have sat a bit too long and no longer look so toothsome.

Blueberry-Peach Bread Pudding

It oughta be a thing, I thought. And sure enough, it is! Rich creamy custard studded with plump blueberries with a delicious peaches and brown sugar topping. My favorite classic way to use up both stale bread and mushy fruit. A frugal housewife’s dream.

Ingredients

16 ounces stale bread cut into roughly 1-inch cubes.

Brioche and challah are both good choices, so are nice crusty sourdough or baguette. I love adding mixing and matching and tossing in some hearty multigrain breads into the mix as well for contrasting texture.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided

4 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 large eggs

4 large yolks

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

5-6 medium yellow peaches, cut into ¼-inch slices

⅓ cup dark brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon amaretto, optional

¾ cup (75 g) blueberries

Directions:

1. If your bread isn’t stale enough, toast it, if it’s nice and dry, then skip to step 2. Set the oven rack to the center position and preheat to 300ºF.

Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes.

Spread the bread on a large sheet pan or two smaller pans. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through toasting. The bread should be lightly golden, dry and crisp. Cool on the tray for 10 minutes.

2. Set oven temperature to 350ºF (177ºC).

3. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with 1 tablespoon softened butter.

4. In a large saucepan bring milk, cream, and sugar to a low simmer over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, do not heat over 120ºF. The milk should be warm and not hot when touched.

5. Turn off the heat and stir in vanilla. Remove the pan from heat and set aside.

6. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, and salt. Very slowly, pour a ½ cup of the warm cream mixture into the eggs, whisking continuously. Add in another ½ cup, whisking between each addition until a total of 2 cups have been added. This is the tempered egg mixture.

7. While whisking the milk mixture, pour the tempered eggs into the saucepan and whisk to thoroughly incorporate.

8. Put the toasted bread into a large bowl. Pour the custard over the bread, stir a few times to gently coat and allow to sit and absorb most of the liquid for 45 to 60 minutes. Stir the bread halfway through.

7. Meanwhile, make the peach mixture. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the amaretto and stir to combine.

8. Add peaches and cook 3 to 4 minutes to release juices and allow the sugar to become syrupy. Make sure the peaches are still tender and not overcooked.

9. Stir the bread and custard mixture very gently to make sure the custard is absorbed.

10. Pour the pudding into the buttered baking dish and evenly spread out the mixture.

11. Add the blueberries and gently press down into the bread pudding.

12. Evenly scatter the peach mixture on top, and then gently swirl to spread out some of the syrup.

13. Place the baking dish in a large roasting pan. Place both pans in the oven and pour in enough hot water into the roasting pan to create a water bath, about halfway up the sides of the baking dish.

14. Bake until the pudding just appears set in the center when the baking dish is gently shaken and the temperature reaches 170ºF, about 40 to 60 minutes.

15. Carefully, remove the roasting pan from the oven and then remove the baking dish from the roasting pan.

16. Allow the pudding to cool for an hour or more before serving, so it’s easier to cut.

Peaches and Cream Cake

This one is like a coffee cake meets a cobbler meets cheesecake…. I had mushy peaches, but didn’t have any stale bread. I really wanted that yummy peachy topping from the bread pudding and the peach cake recipes I was finding didn’t have anything similar. What to do? I mashed together three recipes and a dash of my own invention and it was amazing. It’s a bit fussy, but so worth the time.

Peach Filling:

4-5 medium yellow peaches, peeled and cut into ¼-inch slices
⅓ cup dark brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon amaretto

Cake:



2/3 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 c milk
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar

Cream Cheese Topping:

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c sugar
about 3 Tablespoons of reserved peach juice
1/4 tsp almond extract

cinnamon sugar for dusting the top

Directions:

1. Make the peach filling. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the amaretto and stir to combine. 

Add peaches and cook 3 to 4 minutes to release juices and allow the sugar to become syrupy. Make sure the peaches are still tender and not overcooked. Set aside to cool.

2. Grease an 8 or 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Sprinkle the inside of the greased pan with a bit of brown sugar.

3. Preheat oven to 355° F.

4. Melt the butter and let it cool.

5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

6. Whisk the eggs with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).

7. Add the vanilla and cooled melted butter and stir until combined.

8. Add the milk and then the flour sifted with baking powder.

9. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

10. Drain peaches and reserve the liquid. Add peaches to the pan, plopping gently on top of the batter.

11. Blend reserved peach syrup, sugar, cream cheese, and almond extract. Plop on top of peaches and gently spread with a spatula.

12. Lightly sprinkle top of cake with cinnamon sugar.

13. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool completely and preferable refrigerate for a couple of hours before eating.

Recipe sources

Blueberry-Peach Bread Pudding adapted from Jessica Gavin.

Peaches and Cream Cake borrows the cooked peach topping from the above Bread Pudding Recipe.

Mostly adapted from April Fuller but also from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

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