Peachy Keen

Contest Finalists Share Fruity, Tasty Creations

Photography by Turner Photography Studio | Posted on 09.05.21 – Dining, Food & Drink, Recipes

Every few years, we like to throw a summer cooking contest at our readers, soliciting recipes for salads, cocktails and other treats. Knowing we would be producing the September issue of the magazine in the midst of peach season, the choice of main ingredient this year was obvious.  

Thank you to everyone who submitted their favorite peach recipes. We truly enjoyed reading them all. Congratulations to winner Caitlin Gdowski for her unique dish, Savory Peach Dessert, and also to runners-up Jennifer Leck and Jean Wright. It was a tasty challenge to select the finalists.

Savory Peach Dessert by Caitlin Gdowski (winner)

After the recipe contest was announced, I started experimenting with peach dishes. My first attempt, a cold peach salad, wasn’t a hit, so I started to think about a warm dish instead. It was important to me to use ingredients that complemented the texture of cooked peaches and balanced their sweetness. I immediately thought about pairing peaches with kale and shallots, then other ingredients jumped into my mind: goat cheese and prosciutto. Butter and brown sugar tied everything together. – Caitlin Gdowski

1 large peach

2 tablespoons of butter

1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar

1 small shallot

1 small bunch of kale (about three leaves)

1 slice of prosciutto 

1 tablespoon goat cheese crumbles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice peach in half, removing the pit, and then cut into half-inch-wide slices. Arrange in a small (7 inch) circular pie dish. Place four thin pats of butter on top of the slices and sprinkle with brown sugar. Place in the oven for five minutes. Thinly slice the shallot and cut the kale leaves into bite-size pieces, removing the stems. In a small frying pan, melt one pat of butter and sauté the kale for three minutes. Add the shallots and cook until soft. Cut the prosciutto into thin strips. Remove the peaches from the oven and evenly spread the kale, shallots and prosciutto on top of the peaches. Sprinkle the goat cheese crumbles on top. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is somewhat melted and the tips of the kale leaves are slightly browned and crispy.

Almondy Peach Muffins by Jennifer Leck (runner up)

This recipe has been a favorite for 25 years! Back in 1995, I was a young wife and mom and loved baking from scratch. I also had a toddler who was a picky eater. But he loved muffins! So, I was always on the lookout for muffin recipes. … This recipe has been a hit because the muffin is dense and moist and holds up well in picnic baskets and lunch bags. It is a treat to bite into the chunks of peach. … In my opinion, it is the almond extract that makes them different and delicious. If you take a trip to one of Frederick County’s great orchards, this is a must recipe to have for all the peaches you bring home. – Jennifer Leck

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour  

1 cup of sugar

3/4 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

2 eggs

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon of almond extract

1 1/4 cups of peeled, chopped peaches

1/2 cup of chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. In a second bowl, beat eggs, oil and extracts. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in peaches and almonds. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-quarters full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until muffins pass toothpick test. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Peach-a-Berry Cobbler by Jean Wright (runner up)

There’s something to be said about using a recipe that has not only stood the test of time but still exists as it was copied on the original-but now-yellowed-and-fruit-stained-paper it was written on. The Peach-a-Berry Cobbler has been a popular summer dessert in my family. I wanted to have this for my own recipe file when I left home all those years ago, so I hand-wrote it on the back of my dad’s business letterhead. I don’t think there is any surviving stationery from his business, so this is my treasured memory of him and our family’s favorite summer dessert.

According to my mother, the recipe originates from Better Homes & Gardens magazine. She made this while I was growing up. She has always been a huge fan of blueberries, which complement this traditional cobbler’s peachiness. I made it for her recently and her expression of pure delight was still the same all these decades later as she enjoyed every morsel of its homemade goodness. The combination of fresh peach and blueberry aroma plus the unique fragrance of nutmeg baked into the crusty top makes me think of home every time I make it. – Jean Wright

1 tablespoon of cornstarch

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1/2 cup of cold water

2 cups of sliced, sugared peaches

1 cup of fresh blueberries

1 tablespoon of butter or margarine

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 cup of flour

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 cup of milk

1/4 cup soft butter

2 tablespoons of sugar (for topping)

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg (for topping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cornstarch, brown sugar and water. Add peaches and blueberries. Cook mixture in a skillet until it bubbles and thickens. Add 1 tablespoon butter/margarine and lemon juice. Pour mixture into baking or casserole dish. Into a bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk and 1/4 cup of soft butter and beat until smooth. Pour batter over fruit mixture. Sprinkle the sugar and nutmeg for topping over batter. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with cream.