Temperatures here in the northeast ricocheted all over the map last winter. It felt like Spring had come to stay in February, when we celebrated balmy weather, but then we were slammed with Arctic cold. The peach trees that live here in their northern limits, were coaxed into bud in the balmy conditions, but then ruined in the deep freeze that followed. A wily man from Georgia must have felt sorry for us, because he filled his truck with all the peaches it could hold, drove all the way up here, and set up a one man farm stand at a local nursery. What a guy! I guess a lot of grateful folks were waiting for him, because he sold out in a hour.
During the buying frenzy, my friend Laura managed to nab a crate and shared them with me.
I’m married to a southern boy, and his Grandma Hazel in Pocahontas, Arkansas, was famous for her pies. She didn’t share her recipes because she couldn’t write them down. Jim claims he asked, but she would just smile and say “well, I really don’t know…it’s a pinch of this, a handful of that.” God bless her. Forgiving her archiving skills was easy, because she had a gift for making pies that were out of this world. Jim remembers hanging out with her in her kitchen, as she expertly rolled out the dough to make the flakiest crusts, and added ingredients to a mixing bowl without measuring. Jim is a seat of the pants cook like his Grandma, making it up as he goes along, and the results are usually delicious.
I’m a girl who loves cookbooks and measuring cups and doing things just so. I would dearly love to have Hazel’s recipes, especially now with a bowl filled with perfect Georgia peaches. I searched my cookbooks for peach turnovers and realized Grandma Hazel’s technique for baking would work for peach filling- it’s only a little of this and a handful of that. It’s hard to go wrong when you’re mixing peaches and sugar.
Also I used frozen pastry dough, so the tricky part was done.
Here’s what I did:
- Take your pastry dough out of the freezer and let it thaw.
- Turn on the oven to 400 degrees, with the shelf in the middle.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil and gently lower 5 peaches into the water. After 30 – 45 seconds scoop them out. After they cool a minute, their skins will slide off like butter and you’ll be holding slippery orbs of goodness.
- Slice the peaches into thin sections, discarding the core.
- Into the pot, add 1/2 cup of sugar, the juice of 1/2 of a lemon, 1 tablespoon of butter, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg. Bring to a gentle boil making sure all the sugar crystals have dissolved, then add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch that you have liquified with a small amount of water. Stir until the sauce thickens. Next add the peaches. Stir them into the sugar syrup gently, then set aside to cool completely.
- Once the pastry dough is thawed, flour your work surface generously, and roll out the dough. Cut 5 – 6 squares. Place about a tablespoon of the cooled peaches in the center of the square, quickly fold over to make a triangle, and score both open edges with a fork to seal in the fruit.
- As you complete each turnover, place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in the refrigerator to keep the pastry cold.
- Once you have used all the pastry, you will probably have leftover peach filling. This is a good thing.
- Slip the baking sheet into the middle shelf of your oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until nicely browned.
- Allow the turnovers to cool while you mix together 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and a dash of milk. You should have a thick but dripable consistency. Once the turnovers are cool, drip the frosting over the top.
Voila! Find 5 people you love and share- they are only delicious the day they’re made.
Serve it next to a pool of the extra warmed peach filling. Yes indeed, I think Grandma Hazel would approve.