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  • Peach upside-down rum cake Total time: About 1 1/2 hours Servings: 8 to 10 Note: If baking in a springform pan, place a baking sheet on a rack near the bottom of the oven to catch any syrup that might drip. INGREDIENTS 2 pounds peaches (about 5 large), peeled 1 lemon, juiced (about 3 tablespoons) 3 tablespoons butter, plus 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, at room temperature, divided 1/2 cup light brown sugar 1/4 cup honey 1 3/4 cups (7.5 ounces) flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup sugar 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon orgeat syrup (or almond extract) 3/4 cup dark rum INSTRUCTIONS

    Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Cut the peaches lengthwise into half-inch slices. Place the slices in a medium bowl, drizzle with lemon juice and set aside.

    In a large 10- to 12-inch skillet, preferably cast iron, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until melted and smooth, then add the honey. Lower the heat and add the peach slices, and stir until they are glossy, slightly soft and well-coated with the honey-sugar mixture, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from heat. If you are baking the cake in the skillet, spread the peach-and-sugar mixture in a thick layer to the edges and set the pan aside to cool. If you are baking the cake in a springform pan, scrape and spread the peach-and-caramel mixture into a 9-inch round pan (line the base with parchment paper, to about one-half inch up the sides of the pan).

    In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the remaining butter and the sugar until it is pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one egg at a time, and the orgeat syrup and beat for a minute until well combined. Next, working in batches and alternating with the rum, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Begin with a bit of the dry ingredients and stir until just combined, then add a splash of the rum and stir until just combined, and so on — until all the ingredients are incorporated.

    Dollop the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it as near as you can to the edges so that it covers the peaches. (Don't worry if it seems a little thick; it will fill in as it bakes.) Bake until the cake is golden and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. (A springform cake will require additional time.)

    Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. If using a skillet, place a large plate over the top and carefully flip the pan so that the cake inverts onto the plate with the peaches on top. If using a springform pan, place a plate over the top of the pan, flip the pan over, release the spring mold, and peel back the parchment. Serve at room temperature.

    Each of 10 servings:401 calories; 4 grams protein; 62 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 12 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 70 mg. cholesterol; 44 grams sugar; 175 mg. sodium.

  • Peach-almond chicken salad Makes 2 servings There are two ways to go about making this incredibly cool, light and peachy chicken salad. You can make your own chicken salad from scratch or you can take the easy route and pick up chicken salad from your local deli. Both ways work well for this recipe. If you are on the go and want to assemble something fast without heating up the kitchen, just pick up some chicken salad and the extra summery ingredients to make this dish. INGREDIENTS 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken meat 1 stalk celery, chopped 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1/2 cup sliced almonds, plus another 1/4 for garnish 1-2 tablespoons of honey (to taste, start with 1 tablespoon, add one more if you like) 2-4 fresh, ripe peaches Salt and black pepper, as needed, to taste INSTRUCTIONS

    In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice and pepper, then toss with cooked chicken and celery. Add mustard, almonds and honey. Mix well.

    Just before serving, peel and slice peaches into bite sizes or quarters, and fold into the chicken salad. Season as needed with salt and pepper.

    Note: If starting with pre-made chicken salad, start with Step 2.

    Per serving:

    920 calories, 71 grams fat, 28 grams carbohydrates, 52 grams protein, 138 milligrams cholesterol, 514 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber, 67 percent of calories from fat.
  • Nectarine almond crumble pie Total time: 1 1/2 hours, plus cooling time Makes 1 (9-inch) pie INGREDIENTS Crumble topping: 2/3 cup whole almonds 1/2 cup flour 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes Pie and assembly: 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour 8 cups sliced nectarines 11/2 teaspoons almond extract 1 baked 9-inch single pie crust 1 egg INSTRUCTIONS

    In the bowl of a food processor, combine the almonds and flour, and pulse until the almonds are coarsely chopped and combined with the flour. Add the brown and granulated sugars and cinnamon, and pulse again until combined. Add the butter cubes and pulse again until the butter is broken up and the mixture is crumbly.

    The crumble topping can also be made by hand: Chop the almonds finely and stir together with the flour, brown and granulated sugars and cinnamon, then add the butter and rub together with your fingers until the butter is broken up and the mixture is crumbly.

    Prepared crumble topping. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour. Stir in the nectarine slices, coating completely, then stir in the almond extract until evenly combined.

    Pile the nectarine filling into the prepared pie shell, sprinkling over the slices any additional sugar-flour mixture that did not stick to the fruit.

    In a small bowl, whisk the egg to form a wash.

    Brush the edge of the crust with the egg wash. Drizzle the crumble topping over the fruit slices.

    Place the pie in the oven and bake until the crust is a rich golden color and the filling is bubbly and thick, about 1 hour. Cool before serving.

Stone fruit is great this time of year

Published: Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 - 11:38 am

Peaches and nectarines are kissing cousins. In fact, maybe closer. Plant a bunch of peach pits and a few of them will actually sprout nectarine trees, and vice versa. It used to be said that the difference was that peaches had fuzz while nectarines didn’t. But in supermarkets today, that’s hard to determine since many of the peaches have been mechanically de-fuzzed.

Generally, the flavor of nectarines is lighter and a little more acidic, almost lemony, while peaches are richer and muskier. Ripe nectarines can make you gasp with pleasure, but a great, perfectly ripe peach will make you fall to your knees. Still, you can use them interchangeably. What’s good for the peach is good for the nectarine.

How to choose: Check the background color. Ripe fruit will be golden, not green. Mature fruit that has hung on the tree long enough to develop full sugar will have a distinctive orange cast. Always with peaches and nectarines, trust your nose: Fruit that is ripe and delicious will smell that way.

How to store: If you buy fruit that is too firm (and maybe you should, the way produce is manhandled in farmers markets and supermarkets), leave it at room temperature and it will continue to ripen. Only after it has ripened should you move it to the refrigerator. Chilling underripe fruit is about the worst thing you can do.

How to prepare: Peaches need to be peeled because their skins will come loose during cooking. Score a shallow “X” in the bottom of the fruit and dip it in boiling water until the peel starts to pull away. Transfer it immediately to an ice-water bath to stop the cooking and peel by hand.

Read more articles by Russ Parsons

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