Tag Archives: peach

scratch testing the peach tree.

scratch testing the peach tree.

we thought maybe peach tree was dead but were holding out hope that the appearance of a few leaves meant the core tree was still alive.

a fruit tree expert recommended i do scratch test to see if it was really alive. what’s the scratch test ( i didn’t know either )? you scratch a bit of the bark and look for greenish hued living tissue that is the vascular cambium. dry, brittle, and brown cambium means the tree is dead.

unfortunately, i don’t see any green.

any thoughts from the arborists in the audience? am i doing the scratch test correctly?

the passing of The Peach Tree?

the passing of The Peach Tree?

seven years ago for mother’s day i planted a peach tree and it gave us many stories, including balloon peach decoys, The Great Peach Harvest, The Transformative Power of A Real Peach ( and a little heavy whipping cream ) and peaches and cream ice cream.

but alas, the brutal winter seems to have taken a toll on the peach tree and save for a few leaves on one branch, the tree appears to be dead.

such a big, big, big drag. i was really looking forward to some peaches and and heavy whipping cream ;-(

recipe: maple panna cotta with peach coulis.

recipe: maple panna cotta with peach coulis.

i was eating dinner at driftless cafe and finished it off with an excellent panna cotta ( i was reminded by the staff that they use organic valley half and half and organic valley heavy whipping cream which always makes me happy to hear 🙂 ) and it made me wonder why i didn’t make a homemade version. it’s easy to make, uses two of my favorite ingredients and can be the used as the base for a nearly infinite number of variations. perfect!

we have plenty of frozen peaches to use in the freezer so i thought i’d start with a maple panna cotta with peach coulis similar in spirit to this strawberry panna cotta and this peaches and cream panna cotta shots.

i used agar-agar flakes in lieu of animal gelatin because, well, i generally try to avoid animal gelatin. i’m guessing a panna cotta purist might scoff at using agar.


panna cotta
1 1/2 cups organic valley half and half
1/2 cup organic valley heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons agar agar flakes

peach coulis
12 peach frozen quarters
1 tablespoon sugar

1. in a small saucepan, heat the the half and half, heavy whipping cream, maple syrup, sugar and agar flakes until simmering for 5-10 minutes or until the agar flakes are completely dissolved ( to be honest it was impossible for me to completely dissolve all the flakes so this batch had a few tapioca-like chunks in it. perhaps someone has a good tactic for getting them to dissolve completely. )
2. transfer mixture to ramekins, cover and put in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
3. heat peach frozen quarters and sugar with a small amount of water until a thickened peachy sauce is formed.
4. puree peach sauce in blender
5. after the panna cotta has cooled and firmed in the fridge, pour the peach sauce on top

i’m no panna cotta expert, but i believe it’s supposed to have a consistency just slightly thicker than pudding and this batch was pretty close. unsurprisingly, the maple and peach flavors were quite complimentary. A++, would make again!

recipe: peaches and cream ice cream!

recipe: peaches and cream ice cream! I.

we ended up getting hundreds of peaches off the tree this years, so i figured after the success with purple moon ice cream i’d try my luck with a peaches and cream recipe! it’s basically my regular vanilla recipe ( which somehow i’ve posted?! ) with this peach processing methodology.

1 1/2 to 2 pounds fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped into pieces
4 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 1/2 cups organic valley half-and-half
8 organic valley egg yolks
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups organic valley heavy whipping cream
4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8th teaspoon salt

optional maple syrup for topping


combine the peaches, 1/2 cup of the sugar and the lemon juice in a medium bowl. stir, cover and refrigerate overnight.

in a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat half-and-half until very hot, but not boiling, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.

in a mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended and slightly thickened.

very gradually add half-and-half to egg yolks and sugar and mix until blended.

return half-and-half mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat until small bubbles form around edge and mixture is steamy, stirring constantly. do not boil.

transfer half-and-half mixture into large bowl. stir in whipping cream, vanilla and salt.

cover and chill thoroughly, at least 8 hours.

assemble ice cream maker according to directions.

place a fine-mesh sieve over the bowl and pour the peaches into the sieve, straining the juice into the custard mixture.

start up ice cream maker and add mixture slowly.

churn for about 20 minutes until thick, soft-serve consistency is reached. add the peaches after about 15 minutes of churning.

put in a freezer safe container and store in the freezer.

recipe: peaches and cream ice cream! II.

in a fit of inspiration, odin and i decided to drizzle a bit of maple syrup on top of the ice cream and it is almost impossible to describe how outrageously good the result turned out. i mean, with 8 egg yolks and heavy whipping cream, the vanilla recipe is already a nearly over-the-top rich and creamy custard and when you add in the peach juice and peaches and maple syrup, well, it’s eyes-rolling-in-the-back-of-your-head good.

peachy! peachy! peachy!

peachy! peachy! peachy!

it’s time once again to harvest the peaches and enjoy The Transformative Power of A Real Peach ( and a little heavy whipping cream ). if you’re able to get the chance you should experience a peach fresh off a tree. amazing.

we’ve pulled maybe 4 dozen peaches off the tree in the past week and there’s at least as many yet to be picked and that’s with plenty of evidence laying around that the squirrels are taking quite a few. there’s such a bounty that we don’t even have to resort to balloon peach decoys!

i see some grilled peaches with balsamic vinegar and caramelized brown sugar in my future.

picking perfect peaches!

picking perfect peaches!

i didn’t think we’d get any peaches this year, what with the brutal frost while the blossoms were out and the devastating drought over the summer. but lo! they survived, and dare i say, thrived. we have so many peaches this year that we didn’t even have to deploy balloon decoy peaches. the squirrels have taken their share and left us with plenty 🙂

and so, once again, we get to enjoy The Transformative Power of A Real Peach ( and a little heavy whipping cream ).