Up Side Down

When I make my peach preserves, I’m sure to set a few peaches aside for upside-down peach cake.

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Three or four peaches will do, but you’re probably going to want to make this twice, so you may want eight.

Upside-Down Peach Cake

Preheat oven to 350.

4 peaches, peeled and sliced

3 egg yolks, beaten

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup boiling water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 Tablespoons butter

4 Tablespoons brown sugar

Beat yolks til thick and light.

Add sugar gradually.

Add water and vanilla.

Add flour, baking powder, and salt and set batter aside.

In an 8″, ovenproof frying pan, melt butter over medium heat.

Add brown sugar to butter and let cook a minute or two until it starts to become bubbly.

Turn off the heat and layer peaches on top of brown sugar mixture. This is going to be the top of your cake, so you can attempt to lay the slices in prettily but they’re slippery so don’t stress yourself out. This is cake.

Pour your cake batter over the peaches.

Set the frying pan in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, til golden.

Let it sit for a few minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Remember, the handle of your frying pat is hot!

Serve plain or with whipped cream.

Sweet Spot

When we first moved to this house there was an old peach tree that gave us more fruit than we knew what to do with. So I learned to can.

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I read Martha Stewart’s basic canning instructions, figuring she would reliably do things right, then I found this recipe and jumped in. Being new to canning, I made the mistake of multiplying the recipe, which gives a completely different result than the recipe as written. We found it a happy mistake, though, and for fifteen years that’s the way I’ve made it.

This is by far my most popular preserve and if I bring it somewhere I know better than to bring only one jar, so I work my way through about 40 pounds of peaches each August. Its most obvious application is on crackers with a nice sharp cheese, but it works on so many things – ice cream, pizza, omelettes, chicken, fish, or tofu – because it perfectly balances sweet and heat. Even my most spice-averse friends have come to love it, once they get over the fear inspired by the very word habanero.

A lot has changed on the internet since 2000. What hasn’t changed is that strangers can make each others’ lives richer by sharing what they know is good. This, fellow strangers on the internet, is good.