Monday, August 11, 2008

Peach Muffins: A Snapshot of Excess

"Nature's candy in my hand or can or a pie
Millions of peaches, peaches for me
Millions of peaches, peaches for free"

Peaches, by The Presidents of the United States of America

Peaches slipped from our hands into an overflowing half bushel box at The Homestead Farm and it didn't really feel like millions of peaches. The air was surprisingly humidity free, the sky was clear, as we walked through yellow and white peach orchards with a couple friends of ours talking about local food and less noble things, and eating and picking peaches. But come this morning, when faced with dozens and dozens of peaches (not to mention the many pounds of blackberries we picked, and the 8 pounds of tomatoes, 5 pounds of zucchini, 4 pounds of cucumbers, and assorted other produce from our CSA) it sure felt like millions of peaches.

I wasn't quite sure of my plan of attack, having some vague idea that peaches could be frozen and I could bake with some and we would certainly just eat some of them. There are directions for freezing peaches online and it is surprisingly easy. Still, after hours of boiling, skinning, chopping, coating in lemon juice, and mixing with syrup it didn't feel so easy. And my kitchen was covered with peach bits and skins and juice, like a peach volcano had exploded from the sink.

After getting a few pounds of tomatoes, blackberries, and half a bushel of peaches in the freezer, I still had 20 or so peaches staring at me. And while it was satisfying to see the produce in the freezer and dream of the cold winter day when we will have a taste of summer on our plates, it was impossible for me to leave the kitchen without having made something to eat. Enter super simple peach muffins from The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book.

Peach Muffins
These muffins are from the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, and are a variation on the basic muffin recipe. The recipe calls for pastry flour, but I substituted whole wheat pastry flour (also called graham flour) since that is what I had on hand. Instead of melted butter, I used canola oil and used soymilk instead of milk. I am the substitution queen and while that may sound like cheating since I am not following the original recipe, I believe it is in the spirit of early cooks who were more likely to use what was on hand than chasing down ingredients. The range of recommended sugar depends on what you are adding to it; I used about 1/4 cup of sugar with good results.

2 cups pastry flour
3 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs to 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
4 Tbs melted butter
1 egg
1 cup peeled and chopped peaches

Preheat oven to 400. Grease muffin tin (12 regular or 24 small). Mix and sift dry ingredients together. Beat together milk, butter, and egg. Mix wet ingredients into dry until just moist. Gently mix in peaches. Bake 15 to 20 minutes.


Kevglo said...

Peaches are my favorite fruit, and we don't get very good ones where we live. Your dad and I had the good fortune of having a peach tree in the back yard when we were growing up. I remember one year it bore fruit like crazy and I picked several a day and ate them warm off the branch. You make me envious, writing of your bounty of fresh harvest. I'm so glad you get to enjoy it. Blessings to you and yours.

Classic cook said...

Neat story, I would love to have a peach tree in my yard! I can see why you are envious, but I think I am even more envious of your proximity to cheese curds!