Friday, June 10, 2016

Spiced Peach Butter

Served over Baking Powder Biscuits, shown above.
  • 2-2.5lbs peaches
  • 2 C sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1.  Wash and blanch peaches.  Put peaches in cold water; peel, pit, and slice peaches. 
2.  Combine peaches and 1/4 C water in a large saucepot.  Simmer until peaches are soft.  Puree using a food processor or food mill, being careful not to liquefy. 
3.  Measure 1 quart peach pulp, combine with sugar and spices in a large saucepot.  Cook until thick enough to round up on a spoon.  As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking.
4.  Ladle hot butter into hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles, adjust two-piece caps.  Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner at sea level, increasing 1 minute for each additional 1,000 feet elevation.

Yield: about 5 half-pints

Robyn's notes: the only peaches available to me were cling, where I'd rather have had freestone.  While peeling went surprisingly well, I mangled the heck out of each peach in attempting to get the pits out.  For the peeling process I had each peach in the boiling water for a full 60 seconds, while my instructions suggested 30-45.  However, I had canned peaches in light syrup the previous day and found them very hard to peel, and remembering that water boils at 208F at my altitude, felt that the longer blanch might help.  It definitely did, after each peach had been moved to a bowl of ice water for a couple minutes the peels slid right off.  The thickening took longer than anticipated, I was cooking the pulp for more than 25 minutes before I decided it was probably good enough.  Again, at this altitude, everything takes longer to cook.  We definitely liked this, and when I asked if he had a preference between the two flavours of fruit butter I made that day he said no.  Personally, I felt that this was slightly more of a winter dish, but that's probably because I made the spiced version, and I associate those spices more with the holidays.  It can also be made as plain peach butter, by omitting the ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

*** 3 Stars: Good.  At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Old-Fashioned Baking Powder Biscuits

My favourite biscuits of all time, my mom has been making these as long as I can remember.  When I struck out on my own for the first time she made me a recipe binder with some well-loved dishes, several of which she reduced to serve fewer people.  The original recipe made 8-9 biscuits, my mom did the work of cutting it down to this form.
  • 1 C flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 C shortening
  • 1/3 - 1/2 C milk
1.  Preheat oven to 450°F.
2.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
3.  Using a fork or two table knives, or a pastry blender, cut shortening into flour mix until consistency of coarse meal.
4.  Add milk beginning with smaller amount; stir with fork until mixture leaves sides of bowl and forms a soft, moist dough, adding additional milk one Tablespoon at a time, if necessary to achieve desired consistency.
5.  On floured surface, toss lightly until no longer sticky.  Roll out to 1/2 to 1 inch thick; cut with 2 inch floured cutter or cut into squares with serrated knife or dough blade.
6.  Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 450°F for 8 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown.  Serve hot.  Yield: 4 biscuits

Robyn's notes: to make these into buttermilk biscuits, add 1/8 tsp baking soda to flour mix and substitute buttermilk for milk.  For cheese biscuits, add 2oz shredded Cheddar cheese to flour-shortening mixture.  Bake on greased baking sheet.  These are a big hit around here, and we will both eat basically as many as are available, so it's good to limit it to making fewer.  You can watch me prepare these biscuits on youtube!  

***** 5 Stars: Excellent. A favourite for both of us, I will make this repeatedly