A few weekends ago, the farm I always go to had a one-weekend-only special of pick your own peaches. Peaches are my favorite fruit. Give me veggies every day, but fruit? It’s a love-hate relationship. I rarely pick up a piece of fruit and eat it like that, where as I can eat most veggies without any seasoning. Peaches I can eat as is, although to fill me up a little more I mix it with Greek yogurt. When we arrived at the farm, we picked 8 quarts. Before we left, I noticed a contest to win 1/2 bushel of peaches. I laughed and entered, not thinking much of it. Well, later that night I got an email, saying I was the winner.
Did you know a bushel is roughly 50 pounds of peaches? So that means I now have 25 pounds of peaches to use, on top of the 8 quarts I had picked earlier. Plus the tiny peaches from the peach tree my landlord planted in the back. If you think that your family could go through that much, don’t forget I live alone.
After I found out I won, I made a list of anything and everything I could make. One item I really wanted to make is a cheesecake. One girl at work loves cheesecake, and because she won tickets on my behalf to an NFL game (not Steelers *pouts*), I knew I wanted to make this first.
At first I was planning on making a cheesecake with peach puree in the batter rather than a cheesecake with peach pieces throughout it. Then as I was eating at my kitchen table browsing a cookbook (I think I have more laying around the house than on my bookcase), I found a recipe for a chocolate cherry cheesecake. It had a chocolate cookie crust with a cherry pie filling and ganache on top. I decided to make this recipe but with peaches. First thing – how do you make peach pie filling that typically comes from a can? A few weeks ago, I made cherry pie filling (which I don’t think I blogged about…). I went back to this recipe and subbed peaches for the cherries. Perfect!
This cheesecake recipe is rather simple compared to other ones I’ve made. Most want you to beat for a total of 10 minutes then bake with a waterbath. This one you do beat for several minutes until everything is incorporated. I used crushed (stale) Oreos leftover in my pantry for the crust. I was disappointed when I sliced into it because the filling wasn’t very noticeable, but I promise you noticed when you ate it! I shared it at work and didn’t take long for it to disappear after lunch.
Feel free to improvise the ingredients. Make the crust with graham crackers or vanilla wafers. Change the fruit in the filling. Use white chocolate for the ganache. This recipe provides a nice foundation for a wonderful end-of-summer dessert.
If you had a bushel of peaches, what recipes would you make?
Peach Pie Filling
- 1 1/2 pounds peaches, pitted, peeled, and chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1 cup water or peach juice
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
- 3 Tbsp butter, melted
- 32 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
Make the pie filling
- In a large saucepan, combine water, sugar, and cornstarch. Stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook, stirring 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in peaches. Let cool.
Make the crust
- Preheat oven to 325F. Combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press them in the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 10-inch springform pan. Place the pan on a cookie sheet for easy transportation (and to catch any possible leaks).
Make the cheesecake
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Add 1/2 cup cream; blend well.
- Spoon half of the cream cheese mixture into the pan, spreading evenly. Spoon the pie filling evenly over the layer. You may have leftover syrup in the pan, depending on the ratio of syrup versus peach pieces. Spoon the remaining cream cheese mixture evenly over.
- Bake for 65-75 minutes or until center is set. Cool in pan on wire rack for 1 hour.
For the ganache
- Bring remaining 1/2 cup cream to a boil in small saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips until melted.
- Remove the side of the springform pan. Place cheesecake on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Spread ganache over the top, allowing some to flow down the sides. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
Source: Pillsbury Holiday Baking Nov. 2002, p. 39