There is a classic Seinfeld episode where Kramer and Newman expound at length about the Mackinaw Peach, which is ripe for a mere two weeks a year. “It’s like having a circus in your mouth,” Kramer exclaims to Jerry, succinctly capturing the very nature of the stone fruit. But while the Mackinaw is sadly a fictitious breed of peach, there is a broader takeaway from that episode—nothing beats a perfectly ripe peach.
August is National Peach Month, but in most states peach season peaks in July. Truly superb peaches are beyond compare, and biting into an impeccably ripened peach with warm hues of orange, yellow or cream is a juicy, sublime experience.
Fresh versions of these velvety, sweet, slightly sour orbs are available closer to home than Georgia, with two Long Island farms out east providing the fruit fix. Davis Peach Farm (561 Hulse Landing Rd. in Wading River) has peaches available for picking through the end of August, while Lewin Farms (812 Sound Ave. in Calverton), keeps the peach party going through mid-September.
On the national level, The Peach Truck, a Nashville-based husband and wife team of peach purveyors, grows peaches on a farm in Ft. Valley, GA, the oldest family owned and operated farm in the entire state. When it comes to stone fruit recipes, look no further than The Peach Truck.
Firm yet soft, peaches hold up well to numerous culinary treatments, from sweet to savory to canned to au natural. For a different take on the peach, try out The Peach Truck’s recipe for sweet and spicy peach and sausage empanadas. This recipe and many more can be found on www.thepeachtruck.com.
Sweet and spicy peach and sausage empanadas
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
½ cup white cornmeal
1 tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 large egg
1/3 cup ice water
1 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ red bell pepper, minced
1 lb sausage
3 fresh peaches
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
To prepare the dough, sift flour, salt, cornmeal and turmeric into a bowl and blend in the butter with your fingers, a fork or pastry cutter until the butter has been broken down to pea-sized bits. In a separate bowl, whisk together the water, vinegar and egg. Add the liquid mixture to your dry ingredients and mix until incorporated with a fork. It will still be clumpy and crumbly. Do not overmix.
Turn the mixture out on to a clean, floured surface and work the dough together with the heel of your hand until it comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. To prepare the filling, sauté onions in olive oil until translucent.
Add salt, spices, garlic, red pepper and sausage and cook until sausage is browned. Add diced peaches and sugar, stir and heat through before removing from heat. Chill the filling before making empanadas.
To assemble, roll your dough to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into circles using a small plate or bowl. Wet the edge of the dough circle with water using your fingers or a brush and place a mound of filling in the center. Fold the dough over to seal the empanada, pressing along the edges to ensure a good seal. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
If desired, brush with cream or egg wash before baking for a glossy finish on the empanadas. To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place in center rack and bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
Recipe courtesy of The Peach Truck, www.thepeachtruck.com.