I think the best part of my childhood was the peach tree in the back yard.
It was an awesome climbing tree and my brothers and my friends and I would enjoy hanging out in it. It was so big (or maybe I was just so small) that it was fun to sit under. The tree grew between the sidewalk that ran from the back kitchen door to the alley and the fence between my neighbors house and mine. When I rode my bike up to the house I’d reach up and swat at a branch each time. It was easier to do once I graduated to a larger bike.
My dad took care of that tree so we’d have a great crop each year. I loved watching the little blossoms turn into fruit. I probably picked a few little fruits for dissecting to see if there was a seed yet.
When it was time to pick, my brothers and I would climb the tree and gather what we could. Dad got out the ladder and picked what he could.
We gave away a lot to the neighbors and friends but their always still seemed to be too many. Mom and her mom, Granny, would then bake, can, cook etc. Mom and Granny made what they could and we’d eat peach everything for as long as we could stand to.
My favorite was a peach dessert, kind of like a cake or maybe a peach pizza. I don’t know what to call it except yummy. You needed fresh peaches for this so it was only made during peach season. I asked my mom for the recipe and here is her response. Its good for non-recipe readers but I’ve followed it with the step-by-step recipe below.
Mom: “It’s been a long time since I made peach cake, but I used the recipe on the Bisquick box. Used fresh peaches (I like yellow ones for cake), a few thin pats of butter here and there, cinnamon and then brown sugar (not too much) to make it juicy. I never wrote down amounts of anything but the baking time should be on the box. Also remember our peach tree in the yard? I used those white GA peaches to freeze and slice over walnut cake at holiday time. Those were the days. Any recipe book would tell how to freeze (first either blanche or cook briefly (few minutes), then add a sugar and water liquid before storing in air tight freezer containers.”
Well, I’m sure Bisquick has changed over the years and currently contains partially hydrogenated oil which I prefer not to use except for this article. Follow this recipe but note the substitutions for Bisquick in step one. It turns out great either way.
Here’s the recipe as I remember mom making it step-by-step. If you prefer not to use:
1. prepare Bisquick dough from the recipe on the box. Use the recipe for Strawberry Shortcakes. It’s simply: 2 1/3 cups Bisquick mix, 2/3 cup milk, 3 tbsp sugar and 3 tbsp melted butter. (OR, instead of Bisquick, substitute 2 c organic all-purpose flour, 4 tsp aluminum free baking powder, 3/4 tsp sea salt. Milk, sugar, butter remain the same; I prefer organic products). Mom always spread it onto a dark baking pan like a cookie sheet but mine was too big for the amount of dough I made so I put mine into a glass pie plate. I felt like I had too much dough in this pan so I removed a handful. Pat it down flat in the pan (its sticky).
2. Halve 2 peaches, remove the seed and peel them. Then slice the peaches lengthwise in thin slices (1/2 thick).
3. place the peaches side by side on the dough until it’s completely covered.
4. apply several thin pats of butter randomly over the peaches.
5. sprinkle cinnamon and brown sugar (to taste) over the peaches. The more brown sugar, the juicer the topping.
6. bake at 425 degrees, 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Well, that is what the Bisquick box says but I set the oven for 12 minutes and ended up baking it for another 5 minutes. Glad I did; it was perfect.
7. when it’s done baking and has cooled down, cut and serve.
So, why did I put a story on my gardening blog about a peach cake from my youth? I think a peach tree is a great addition to anyone’s garden. If you have the space in your yard, try growing one. Your kids might have some great memories when they grow up.