I've been so busy lately; baking, while it's happened on occasion, hasn't been of the photogenic variety. However, I think you'll find these worth the wait. Just back from vacation, I have 1/4 peck of Ohio's first ripe peaches of the season (from Hurley Farms at Indian Lake) sitting on my dining room table. One of Carolyn's favorite summer desserts is something her mom makes, called Peach Beehives. Like any time I try to duplicate something someone's mom makes, it comes with high expectations and the decision as to whether to simply recreate an identical dish, or to attempt making it my own.
Today, I decided to make this mom classic my own in small ways. I used my favorite pie crust recipe, sprinkled coarse sugar on the crust for extra crunch and sparkle, and added some booze to the sauce (always a way to reclaim any recipe as my own...just add booze!).
One of the most unique parts of this recipe is that the peaches are left completely alone. You don't season them, you don't peel them, or pit them. All that happens is that they are carefully encased in crust, exalting them in their peachy, peak-season glory. Most interestingly, somewhere in the baking process, the skin of the peaches all but dissolves. It's not tough or even noticible in the final product. I also love that single rivulet of pinkish peach juice that leaked out of the top and dripped down the side. It lets you know there is a lush, juicy treat waiting just inside that crispy crust.
I attempted to reduce the quantities in the various recipes I looked over, and ended up with an almost perfect amount of crust for two peaches (just enough extra to bake up scraps with cinnamon and sugar) by halving what I usually make for a single crust pie. The sauce is another story...I have a ton of it left. Good thing it's tasty enough to just eat off of a spoon.
most recipes use prepared crusts; I made 1/2 batch of my favorite recipe
2 peaches, washed and still damp
half an egg white (use remaining white and yolk in sauce)
Cut the crust into 1/2" in strips, and wrap around the peaches, overlapping each strip halfway over the one before it, so it looks like a beehive. I found having damp peaches helped the crust strips stick to the peaches quite well. Press the strips firmly into one another, being careful not to squash or misshape them, but making sure they are well sealed. Place peaches on a parchment covered baking sheet. Brush peaches with egg white, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes until golden brown and pretty.
1/4 c butter
1 egg yolk, plus the half of the white you didn't use on the peaches (farm fresh if you can)
1 tbl cream
1 tbl Navan (vanilla cognac)
a few drops vanilla bean paste
1 c powdered sugar
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Cream the butter with an electric mixer, then add the egg yolk, beating until smooth and fluffy. Add cream, Navan, and vanilla bean paste, continuing to beat until completely smooth. Add the powdered sugar 1/4 c at a time, fully incorporating each portion before adding the next. If one wanted a thicker sauce, one could add more powdered sugar...but I liked it exactly how it came out, smooth and spoonable! Place under or over beehives right before serving, preferably while the peaches are still warm.