Peach Torte

This week, I noticed, the peach production is winding down. The rain was awfully hard on them, and many split and softened. Hornets and fruit flies descended. Still I managed to can quite a few and make the usual chutney and jam.

I heard from some of you about your peach preferences and strategies. One reader doesn’t bother with Maine peaches and gets them from Georgia instead and doesn’t do a thing with them, apparently, except eat them straight up. Chacun à son goût, as the French say: “each to his or her own taste.” Someone else wrote to say she was planning sorbet, and Elsie Sealander  in Blue Hill wrote, “I also love the tree ripened peaches here in Maine. Here is a favorite recipe of mine that I got from a German cook. She called it a German Fruit Cake, but I think of it as a peach torte.”

I made one, and to give it a taste test, Toby and I shared it on the front porch in the sun with our friend Mike Kerr, who had been over helping to stack wood. We liked it. Then luckily for Kay Wood, she showed up to get peaches for herself, and ended up with a piece of the cake, too. Another piece went home with Mike for Kathy, because the last thing I need around the house is temptingly delicious cake.

The cake goes together in a flash. I think if decorated with a bit of whipped cream or crème fraiche, this would work as a company dessert. How much sugar you put on top with the peaches is really a matter of taste. Over all, it is not terribly sweet, and I was happy merely sprinkling cinnamon sugar on it.

You will notice that the recipe, which makes two cakes using a nine inch round pan, is easily halved. I think you could make it in a nine by thirteen rectangular pan, but the round pans make for a very pretty looking cake.

Mrs. Meyers’ Peach Torte

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

dash of salt

¼ pound or half a stick of butter

½ cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten lightly

Four to five peaches, sliced,

Sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and cut in the butter. Stir in the eggs until a dough forms. Divide it, and press it into a greased nine inch pan so that it is about a quarter of an inch thick, but no more than half an inch. Arrange the sliced peaches on the dough, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon to taste. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.

Makes two nine inch tortes.

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About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.