I try as best I can to write this blog seasonally, so that the recipes will line up with the fruits and vegetables available at your market. (Apologies to those reading in Israel.) But in the world of journalism, where I come from and where I still have a small role, it doesn’t always work that way. I guarantee you that editors – magazines, newspapers, and even online publications – are currently busy putting together their Thanksgiving sections. And so for the Rosh Hashana section you are reading this week and last in your go-to papers, the editor began crafting that in early summer, probably even earlier as this year is the earliest I’ve ever remembered it being.
A few years back, the kindest editor I’ve ever had hired me for a freelance food article for his upcoming Rosh Hashana section. The assignment was delightful: Explore some local apple orchards, pick a few bushels, bake and cook up a few dishes, and write it all up. And make sure to photograph the process the entire way through.
There was a hitch, though: The article was due on September 1, so he could get the section out at least a week before the start of the holiday. But going apple picking in August in New England is, um, tricky. Basically, the months of September and October are prime times for apple picking, but August is still all about stone fruits. Every orchard we tried was just like my CSA has been for the past few weeks: Full of perfect peaches, and nary an apple in sight. So while we went and picked and photographed, the apples I used for the recipe came from the grocery store.
Rosh Hashana is freakishly early this year, but rather than try to force something, I’m rolling with it. You’ll remember the zwetschgenkuchen, the Concord grape pie and perfect plum tort that I have brought to my mother’s house for the Holy Days. This year, I’m going with a peach pound cake. (I’m also bringing that date nut bread for Sylvie’s mother-in-law. She hosts us for the 4th, and I feel it’s the least I can do as a thank you.)
It may not be a traditional fall recipe, but I think Lilli approves. When we fed her peaches a few weeks earlier, she finished the meal by licking the juices off her bib.
I’m calling this a pound cake, but it’s certainly been updated from the traditional “pound of butter, pound of sugar, pound of flour…” recipe. In addition to the peaches, there’s both vanilla and almond extract, which gives the cake a great flavor. The batter is also remarkably fluffy, given all the eggs, butter and sugar.
A few notes: Thankfully, you don’t have to peel these peaches like I have to when feeding Lilli, or like the other peach cakes I’ve baked this summer. The recipe says you can use frozen peaches too, so I guess you can make it in the dead of winter. I never have sour cream on hand, but always have Greek yogurt around; it makes a great substitute. Although the recipe doesn’t say it, please put the tube pan on top of a baking sheet. Twice I’ve had to enlist Rich’s help to scrape errant batter that has dripped from the tube hole onto the oven racks and bottom. I know, you’d think after the first time I’d have learned my lesson. The recipe calls for confectioner’s sugar once the cake has cooled down, but I would call that optional, as I’ve just simply forgotten that step two times now and the final product has been delicious.
Peach Pound Cake from TasteofHome.com
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
2 cups diced fresh or frozen peaches
Preheat the oven to 350.
Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the extracts.
Add the flour mixture, alternating with the sour cream, beating well after each addition.
Fold in the peaches.
Pour into the greased a floured 10-inch tube pan.
Bake in the 350-degree oven for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioner’s sugar if desired.
Yield: 12-16 servings