The only thing more delectable than a good summer mystery read may just be a delicious summer peach.
To celebrate the season, Mystery Scene asked some of our favorite culinary mystery authors to share some of their favorite peach recipes. Take it from Joanne Fluke , Daryl Wood Gerber (Avery Aames), Livia J. Washburn, and Cleo Coyle. Murder has never been so sweet...
MINNESOTA PEACH COBBLER
by Joanne Fluke (Hannah Swenson mysteries)
***Do NOT thaw peaches***
- 10 cups frozen sliced peaches (2.5 pounds, sliced)
- 1/8 cup lemon juice (2 tbsp)
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 stick softened butter (1/4 cup)
- 2 beaten eggs
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 13 by 9 inch cake pan with Pam.
Measure peaches and put them in a large mixing bowl. Let them sit on the counter and thaw for 10 minutes. Then sprinkle with lemon juice and toss.
In another smaller bowl combine white sugar, salt, flour, and cinnamon. Mix them together with a fork until they're evenly combined.
Pour dry mixture over the peaches and toss them (your hands are best). Once most of the dry mixture is clinging to the peaches, dump them into the cake pan you've prepared. Sprinkle any dry mixture left in the bowl on the top of the peaches in the pan.
Melt the butter. Drizzle it over the peaches. Then cover the cake pan tightly with foil.
Bake the peach mixture at 350 for 40 minutes. Take it out of the oven and set it on a heat-proof surface, but DO NOT turn off the oven.
Now for the crust. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a smaller bowl you used earlier. Cut in the softened butter with a couple of forks until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. Add the beaten eggs and mix them in with a fork. For those of you who remember your school library with fondness, the result will resemble library paste but it'll smell a whole lot better). You can also do this with food processor with chilled butter.
Remove the foil cover from the peaches and drop on spoonfuls of the topping. Because the topping is thick, you'll have to do this in little dibs and dabs scraped from the spoon with another spoon, a rubber spatula, or with your clean finger. Dab on the topping until the whole pan is polka dotted. (Will spread out when baking).
Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for an additional 50 minutes.
JOANNE FLUKE is the New York Times bestselling author of the Hannah Swensen mysteries, which include Apple Turnover Murder, Cinnamon Roll Murder, Red Velvet Cupcake Murder, and, of course, Peach Cobbler Murder. She’s baked over 500,000 chocolate chip cookies for fans since the series debuted 14 years ago, not to mention countless pies, cakes, muffins and other sweets. Like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke was born and raised in a small town in rural Minnesota, where a traffic jam was defined as two cars stuck behind a tractor. She managed to shovel her way out of the snow and now lives in California. Visit Joanne at www.JoanneFluke.com.
PEACH BASIL PROSCIUTTO
by Daryl Wood Gerber (Cookbook NOOK Mystery series)
- 2 peaches sliced in eighths
- 1 pound prosciutto, cut into thin one-inch slices
- 12-16 large leaves of basil, rinsed, stem removed
Slice the peaches
Slice the prosciutto
Prepare the basil
Lay one slice of peach in each basil leaf. Using a piece of prosciutto, wrap at the center around the peach/basil combo, twisting or pressing at the end so the prosciutto holds together.
In the Perfect Peach recipe, the skin of the peach is cut off. I prefer the skin on for texture. You can do either. Also, my husband liked the peach with the prosciutto by itself, no basil. I happen to adore basil and loved the combination. Eat to your heart’s content!
DARYL WOOD GERBER is the author of A Cookbook Nook Mystery series, featuring an avid reader, admitted foodie, and owner of a cookbook store in picturesque coastal California. The series debuted in 2013. In addition, under the pen name Avery Aames, Daryl writes the Agatha Award winning, nationally bestselling A Cheese Shop Mystery series. Visit Daryl at www.darylwoodgerber.com.
PHYLLIS' SPICY PEACH COBBLER
by Livia J. Washburn (Fresh Baked Mysteries)
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tbsp minced candied ginger
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 4 cups sliced peaches
9" Basic Crust
- 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp ice water
- 1 tsp granulated or turbinado (raw) sugar * Makes a 9-inch pie crust
Preheat oven to 375º. Combine cornstarch, minced candied ginger, brown sugar, and water in saucepan. Cook until thickened and then add peaches. Cook until peaches are hot, about 5 minutes. Pour into buttered 9” pan making sure the ginger is evenly distributed.
Mix flour and salt in chilled bowl, then cut shortening into the flour with a pastry cutter, until mixture resembles the texture of tiny split peas. When the mixture is the right texture, add the ice water and combine with a fork. Quickly gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a 4-inch-wide disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Remove dough disk from refrigerator. If stiff and very cold, let stand until dough is cool but malleable. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough disk on a lightly floured surface until it’s bigger than the pan. Transfer dough by carefully rolling it around the rolling pin, lift and unroll dough, centering it over the fruit. Vent crust, and sprinkle granulated or turbinado (raw) sugar on top to give a delightful sparkling appearance.
Bake cobbler for 50 minutes or until golden brown.
The candied ginger gives this dessert a warm zesty taste.
LIVIA J WASHBURN (aka L.J. Washburn) is Livia Reasoner, a mystery, western, romance, and historical novelist. She began to write in collaboration with her husband, author James Reasoner, and soon branched out into telling her own stories. Livia and James have had a long career working together, tweaking and editing each others stories. In recent years she's become involved in the publishing end of the business, producing ebooks and trade paperbacks for Western Fictioneers, and now for Prairie Rose Publications. A good day for her includes having time to create something new in the kitchen, on a story, and designing a great cover. Livia's website can be found at www.liviawashburn.com.
Honey Cinnamon Peach Sopapillas
by Cleo Coyle (Coffeehouse Mystery series)
Traditionally sopapillas are little pillows of fried dough. They can be served with savory ingredients but also as a dessert with honey and cinnamon. You can certainly make them from scratch, but here's a quick, easy, lighter way to make them using flour tortillas. This recipe serves one.
- 1 six-inch flour tortilla
- 2-3 teaspoons shortening (my favorite: cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil, but you can also use olive oil, or your favorite oil, butter, lard, or vegetable shortening - see my note below)
- Raw honey for drizzling (Health and flavor note: Raw honey is far, far better tasting than heat-processed honeys. It's truly worth the price and makes a huge difference in flavor. If you can find local raw honey, that's an even better benefit for your immune system.)
- 1 tbsp cinnamon mixed with 2 tsp sugar
- 1 ripe, fresh peach
Place a skillet on medium-high heat and add your choice of shortening (oil, butter, lard, etc). You must use some kind of shortening and enough of it or the tortilla will not properly bubble up.
When the oil is hot (or the butter melted), place the tortilla in the pan. Allow it to heat up (15 to 20 seconds), then flip it and wait patiently for the tortilla to bubble up. If it does not bubble up, you need to increase the heat and keep waiting. Then flip it one more time to finish cooking and remove it from the pan. Slip it on the plate, drizzle it with raw honey, and sprinkle it generously with cinnamon sugar. Use a pizza cutter to slice it into sections.
To serve, slice up a fresh peach and arrange the slices on the center of a plate as shown in my photo. Drizzle with raw honey and cinnamon sugar. Place the sopapilla slices around the plate, top the center of the peach slices with whipped cream or ice cream and eat with joy!
My very favorite shortening for this recipe is cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil. This is a healthy, delicious oil, and of all the shortenings I tested with this recipe, coconut oil gave the absolute best results. It doesn't brown the way butter does at a high temperature; it brings a lovely, slightly nutty flavor to the tortilla; and it creates a nice, crisp texture in the tortilla as it cools.
CLEO COYLE is the pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, who writes popular fiction in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Like their 13 Coffeehouse Mystery novels, their five Haunted Bookshop Mysteries (written under the name Alice Kimberly), are bestselling works of amateur sleuth fiction for Penguin. Visit Cleo at www.coffeehousemystery.com.