Food by the Howells for the Howells...

Food by the Howells for the Howells...and anybody remotely related to a Howell, or who may have met a Howell at one point in their life, or...yeah, pretty-much anybody.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Award-winning Peach Torte

My mom grew up with this recipe. She made it often while I was growing up, and now I make it! When I was a teenager, I submitted this recipe (without my mother's knowledge) to the local newspaper in Bellevue, Washington for their recipe contest. I think my mom was surprised when she was notified that she had won! Subsequently, we had a reporter and photographer come to our house to take pictures of this lovely dessert and to write up a story about my mom and this dessert. It is the perfect summer dessert--so fresh and delectable!

First, you have to get the right kind of peaches, though. I recently read some tips for getting the best peaches. The first one goes along with what my mom always says--if you can't smell them, don't buy them. You should be able to smell them as you walk by in the supermarket. Secondly, look for a buttery yellow color around the stem. If it's green, they were picked too early. If it's wrinkly, they were picked too long ago. That's basically it! For this recipe, the juicier the peaches, the better! (I have made this with woefully underripe peaches, and it is still good--just not AS good).

Peach Torte

1/2 cup (1 cube) melted butter
2 to 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
3 to 4 Tbsp milk
a few chopped walnuts (optional)
1 package graham crackers (1 package usually has about 12 crackers in it)
10 to 12 peaches
1 container whipped cream (or Cool Whip)

Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When boiling, blanch peaches by putting them into the water and then removing to a cold water bath after one minute. As peaches cool, crush all the graham crackers (a food processor works well for this). Spread in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Mix together the melted butter, powdered sugar, milk, and nuts. Pour over the graham crackers.

Skin the peaches (skin should easily slip off unless you get really underripe peaches, in which case, you must suppress all temtation to curse and just peel them with a knife or potato peeler). Hold each peach in your hand over the graham crackers and sugar mixture and cut the peach into slices letting the juices drop into the pan. Continue until all the peaches have been cut. Spread Cool Whip over the top, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate. (You can also save some of the graham cracker crumbs from earlier and sprinkle them over the top for a decorative effect). This sounds like a lot of work, but it's not that bad, and it's SO worth it!

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