From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...We spent the day at Baker Bay. It was family-type gathering and we spent most of the afternoon on the water. Food was simple. We had the most basic of barbecues, with choices limited to hamburgers, hot dogs or Sloppy Joes. The salads, some of which were delicious, were a pot luck affair and did a lot to help dress up the meal. I was asked to bring desserts. Because everything was being kept simple, I kept with the program and brought desserts that would fit in with the meal. We brought one of those old-fashioned crank ice cream maker to amuse the kids, as well as my version of a Texas sheet cake, and a couple of the Peach Upside-Down cakes I'm sharing with you tonight. The cake is barely sweet, but it has wonderful flavor thanks to the peaches and the unusual addition of toasted cornmeal to the cake batter. Those of you who favor desserts that are barely sweet will enjoy this unusual version of upside-down cake. The cake is easy to prepare but there are a few pitfalls you'll want to avoid should you decide to make it. Resist the temptation to increase the amount of peaches called for in the recipe. Doing so will result in a damp and soggy cake that no one will enjoy. As for the peaches themselves, you'll want to work with firm, just ripe fruit, or frozen fruit that has been thawed, drained and patted dry. Truly ripe peaches are way too soft for this dessert and you'll end up with a mushy cake that is an eyesore. The recipe comes from Cook's Country magazine, so you can rest assured that it has been tested and will produce a nice dessert. If you are looking for something new to try, you might want to experiment with this cake. Here is how it is made.
Rustic Peach Upside-Down Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Cook's Country magazine
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 6 tablespoons melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar, plus 3/4 cup
1 pound peaches, peeled, halved, pitted, and cut into 3/4-inch wedges, or 12 ounces frozen sliced peaches, thawed and drained
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons grated orange zest plus 1/4 cup juice
1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
1) Move oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast cornmeal in ovensafe 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to large bowl and let cool slightly.
2) Wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup sugar and pinch salt and cook, whisking constantly, until sugar is melted, smooth, and deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. (Mixture may look broken but will come together.) Off heat, carefully arrange peaches cut side down in tight pinwheel around edge of skillet. Arrange remaining peaches in center of skillet.
3) Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into cornmeal. In separate bowl, whisk milk, orange zest and juice, egg and yolk, melted butter, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar until smooth. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture until just combined.
4) Pour batter over peaches and spread into even layer. Bake until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 28 to 33 minutes, rotating skillet halfway through baking.
5) Let cake cool in skillet on wire rack for 15 minutes. Run knife around edge of skillet to loosen cake. Place large, flat serving platter over skillet. Using potholders and holding platter tightly, invert skillet and platter together; lift off skillet (if any peaches stick to skillet, remove and position on top of cake). Let cake cool completely, about 1 hour. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Yield: 8 servings.
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