Bit into my first peach yesterday since last year – a definite early offering but being in the south it was just a few weeks sooner than anticipated, and it is never too soon to leave a dental impression on one of summer’s succulent sensations.
Having been in the land of Dixie for over a year now, I have sampled the peaches from three southern states. My apologies to the Peach State but your neighbor to just the north delivers a superior experience. I have found that South Carolina’s crop has produced the juiciest, sweetest and most fragrant of them all. Only when I was in the south of France, in early July, have I had peaches that were more intoxicating – releasing a siren’s scent that could not be ignored and bursting with a nectar that dare not be wasted that I licked every inch of its trail down my forearm. For reasons unknown I have never experienced that concentration of juice in a domestic variety but the smell and sweetest has been revisited.
Peaches are one of those fruits along with plums, apricots, cantaloupe, and most berries that I will never eat if they come further than a half-day’s drive from where I am, and if they are bought in on refrigerated vehicles forget about it. These summer fruits need their full time on the branch to ripen and created those flavors that sends me into olfactory and taste nirvana. And, once exposed to the chill of refrigeration they muster a mere fraction of their true potency. This may seem extremely militant but when I have waited an entire year to bite into a summer miracle I want to get completely transfixed by its voodoo.
Southern Peach Cake – yields 10-inch cake
1-pound sliced peaches
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2-cup sweetened condensed milk
1-tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Buttered and flour a 10-inch cake pan.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a standing mixer mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
In another bowl beat the eggs, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla together to combine.
In a separate bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Then on a low speed add the flour to the butter mixture. Once the flour has been added to the butter pour in the egg mixture, and mix to well.
Place the sliced peaches on the bottom of the cake pan, and pour over the batter. Bake in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.