The cold snap last week is reported to have ravaged the South Carolina peach crop this year. No biggy you might think. Georgia grows peaches, right? Nope, South Carolina grows more peaches. Unfortunately, the Georgia and Kentucky peach crops also seem to be destroyed. Now, nothing tastes like summer to me like a South Carolina peach, one of the small ones, drippy, sweet and sticky. I hope I get a few this summer. With gas prices and peach crop problems, we may be stuck with canned. (which of course brings to mind summers of canning Mama’s special brandied peaches…mmmm)
I am disinclined to gussy up fresh peaches, especially good ones. However, sometimes you want to do such things or you have some that just won’t pass that taste of summer muster fresh-that is where this recipe comes in! It will knock the socks off of just about anyone.
Anyhow, if you are short of fresh peaches and can’t wait or you just can’t find a decent peach in town. (those imported ones are getting better but still…), this recipe works grand with canned peaches (use the ones in juice, not heavy syrup.) I am inclined to tell you off the bat…almond extract does nothing for me and I use a splash of peach brandy in place of it and the vanilla or I double the vanilla. Some folks like almond though. Parchment paper works fine if you are a little short of brown paper.
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
â…› teaspoon almond extract
â…› teaspoon vanilla
â…› teaspoon of salt
2 egg whites
½ cup granulated sugar
6 peaches, or 12 canned peach halves
Sprinkle cream of tartar, flavorings and salt over egg whites in a large mixing bowl, and beat until very foamy. then gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat until meringue is very stiff and smooth, holds peaks well, and all sugar is dissolved. Prepare baking sheet by covering with well-buttered unglazed paper (smooth brown wrapping paper will do). Draw a 7-inch circle on the paper and spread or pipe meringue around this circle, filling in center and building sides up as high as possible; or line an e- or 9-inch pie tin with buttered paper and spread meringue in this, heaping up sides. Place in a very slow oven (250° F.) and bake for 1½ to 2 hours, or until surface is dry and crisp. Carefully remove from paper and place on cake rack to cool and dry. Just before serving, pare and slice peaches, sprinkle with sugar and heap into meringue shell. Pile whipped cream on top. 5 servings. The Modern Family Cookbook