The Little Tree That Could

I’ve been picking peaches all week. This has been a bumper crop and I’m still amazed that its been 15 years since a horribly misshapen, scrawny little twig rescued from a compost heap came to us unexpectedly one October afternoon. “He” was a cast-off from a friend’s father’s garden and literally came as a “Y”-shaped twig with a single root…no pot, no dirt. We planted our unexpected gift just as it was getting dark on that chilly October Sunday. The rest, as they say, is history.

Despite “his” unfortunate start in life and a shape that makes him innately weak and vulnerable to splitting, he has consistently produced peaches year in and year out as if “he” has no idea that “he’s” ugly looking and defective. Now, they’re New England peaches so they’re never really bigger than raquette balls, aren’t the freestone variety and are a little tart- which makes them perfect for cooking. I rely solely on the birds for pest control and nothing makes me happier than bringing in a tray of just picked, organic, sun-blushed peaches that fill the kitchen with their warm, sweet, peachy perfume.

Last summer I was still getting my head around this new life with Gastroparesis. Backyard peach picking always signaled the start of Peach Crumble season. I spent days peeling and pitting pounds of peaches to be topped with generous fist-fulls of dark brown sugar, butter, oats and pecans then baked off in lasagne-sized pans and enjoyed by Hubby’s coworkers, neighbors and ourselves, of course. There were always a few crumbles destined for the freezer so that we could enjoy some of summer’s sunny bounty come cold days.

I had no Peach Crumble last summer and enjoyed the bulk of my peaches juiced but this summer has been different for as I learn more, do more and tolerate more I try more. This week there has been Peach Crumble of a sort. It may not contain all the butter, oats and pecans of previous years but I think it’s a perfectly peachy GP-friendly alternative. Oh, and by the way, our peach tree’s perfectly proportioned “siblings” have never produced nearly what our imperfect tree has accomplished!

Gingersnap Peach Crunch

6 “normal” portions. This recipe is slightly higher in fat than the usual posts at approximately 5 grams per serving. This Crunch tastes of peaches-the ginger is subtle. For a spicier version feel free to add some extra ground ginger. Cooking the fruit before baking does two things: ensures that the peaches are fully cooked (aka GP-friendly) before going into the oven and uses a minimum amount of oven time during the hot summer months. Adapted from Food & Wine.

4 pounds peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced*

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour

pinch salt

1 cup coarsely crushed gingersnaps (used 60 Trader Joe’s Lowfat Ginger Cat Cookies for people)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Add peaches and cook over high heat until softened (about 10 minutes). Add 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and lemon juice and cook until juices get thick and syrupy and peaches are soft (approximately 5 minutes). Pour into a 10″ deep dish pie plate or 1 1/2 – 2 quart baking dish.

Meanwhile, pulse butter, flour, salt and remaining dark brown sugar in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the gingersnaps and pulse just to incorporate.

Press the topping into clump and sprinkle over peaches. Bake 15-20 minutes until the top is browned and the filling is bubbly.

*My peaches are smaller than commercially grown therefore there are more pits. You may need less if your peaches are bigger.


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5 responses to “The Little Tree That Could

  1. Those peaches are gorgeous, and what a great idea to use ginger snaps for a crisp! Do you ever can your peaches, or are they too tart to eat alone?

  2. Thanks, its been a good year. Never been much of a canner…will cook up some peach sauce for the freezer.

  3. Mmmmmm I just got some fresh peaches. I’ll be all over this recipe tonight, Thanks šŸ™‚

  4. I love peaches, so much.