Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Granny's Peach Cake

This weekend, I mentioned making Granny's Peach Cake on facebook.  Maybe it's everyone's abundance of peaches or just a fondness for a rather hard-to-come-by delicacy, but I had several requests for the recipe.

Last year, I posted about a very special cookbook / memory book  that my mom gave to them women in our family.  This collection of my great-grandmother's recipes is quite a keepsake with it's pictures and memories, but it's a valuable resource, too.  The front cover boasts a picture of one of Granny's best loved recipes - her peach cake - and just the other day, I had such a craving for it that I decided to make it myself.  This was the first time I had made it, and it turned out wonderfully (I called Mom first to find out if she had any pointers since she has made it quite a few times).  I've added her tips to the recipe below.

Granny's Peach Cake
the recipe is actually for her Basic Sweet Dough and can be adapted for several types of fruit, but Granny almost always made it with peaches...

2/3 cup milk, scalded
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
6 TBSP shortening
    For those of you who aren't used to such (ahem) old-fashioned recipes, scalded milk just means that you heat it in a sauce pan until it is about to boil but then you don't let it boil.  And, yes, you need to do this part.  Once the milk is scalded, remove from heat and add the sugar, salt, and shortening to the sauce pan and allow those ingredients to dissolve and melt.  Set aside.

2/3 cup lukewarm water (hot from tap, will be lukewarm once you add other ingredients to it)
2 TBSP sugar
2 pkgs dry yeast
    Add the sugar and yeast to the lukewarm water and allow it to dissolve.  Mix and set aside, waiting for the mixture to "bubble," showing that the yeast and sugar are interacting.

Place the milk mixture in mixing bowl (I use my KitchenAid and it works just fine.  Granny, of course, did it all by hand...).  Add the yeast mixture to the milk mixture.  Make sure your milk mixture has cooled a bit as you don't want it to kill your yeast concoction.  In all reality, by the time you've reached this point, it should be just fine.

3 beaten eggs
6 cups flour
      Add the beaten eggs slowly until mixed along with one cup of flour.  Gradually add more flour (about one cup at a time) until the dough is the right consistency to knead (elastic but not too sticky).  At this point, I've switched to my dough hook.  Depending on you mixer, you can allow the mixer to do the kneading.  I still prefer to knead for about 5 minutes with my hands - helps me to "feel" that the dough is right.

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a towel.  Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled (about one hour).

Once the dough has risen, divide it in thirds (approximately.  see below) and roll out thin.  Place rolled out dough on 1" pans (jelly roll, cookie sheet size) forming an "edge" with the dough along the outside.  Place sliced peaches on top (can also used sliced apples or plums).  Sprinkle lightly with sugar.  Cover with towel and allow to rise again, for one hour.

Bake about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Makes approximately 2 - 1"x11" pans and 1 - 9" pan.

I baked mine for a little more than 15 minutes.  You don't want to over bake this!  Just let the edges get golden brown.  Serve warm (or cold!) sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Some other tips...
- for me, 3 peaches was enough to make one cake
- I only wanted to make one cake, so I rolled out the extra two portions of dough, placed them on the proper pans, covered them with wax paper, and then put them in the freezer.  They will be ready the next time I have a few peaches on hand.  Just allow to thaw and rise once fruit is on top.

Try it!  Don't be scared off by the scalded milk,  yeast, and rising parts... it is actually very easy and not nearly as time consuming as it sounds.

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