Peach Desserts

Three peaches cut in half

Peaches are such a beautiful, unique fruit. You never mistake peach flavor for something else, as there is just something about the juicy sweetness that is so obviously a peach. It’s fitting that peach season coincides with summer, because the fruit is bright, floral and fun, and to celebrate these tasty treats I put together a list of my favorite peach desserts. Each recipe showcases the peach flavor in its own way, and you’ll find pies, ice cream and so much more.

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Peach Rye Cake

Peach Rye Cake before baking | Photo by Zoë François | ZoeBakes

“Morning, sunshine!” That’s what this Peach Rye Cake says to me and what a joyous way to start the day. Sure, it’s cake and can be served with ice cream as a dessert too, but the rye and honey evoke more of a morning muffin vibe, so I am suggesting this with a dollop of yogurt to start your day. When King Arthur Baking Company invited me to celebrate their official name change from King Arthur Flour with a recipe, I immediately thought of Vermont (King Arthur Baking Company’s home) and my childhood memories there.

I grew up on communes in Plainfield and Glover, Vermont. Food on a commune is a constant dance, since there are so many mouths to feed. The smell of honey, baking bread and granola are some of my very first food memories. Sunshine streaming in the windows and the smell of sweetness in the kitchen  are the things I recall and what I wanted to recreate with this cake. A sun burst of peaches in a honey-sweet rye cake batter, that’s a perfect celebration. The fact that King Arthur Baking Company has changed their name to highlight all that they do for and with the baking community, beyond producing some of the very best flour, just seems natural and right.

They represent the best of the baking community and are a constant go to for tested recipes, trusted resources, and the highest quality baking products. I am honored to have worked with them throughout my baking career and overjoyed to be a part of this special moment.

And…scroll to the bottom to see the Zoë cookie King Arthur Baking Company created for me. It is hilarious and delicious. Recipes below!

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Peach Dutch Baby

Peach Dutch Baby | ZoëBakes photo by Zoë François

A Dutch Baby, or as I called it way back in the day (1970s), a “Puffy Pancake,” was my first real baking adventure. It was also one of my very first posts on ZoëBakes in 2007. Going back to that original post will give you a glimpse of what blogging looked like when I first started out. The photography was really rough (terrible even), but it was a brand new landscape and the idea of sharing recipes on the internet was almost magical. I’ve kept that post exactly as it was 12 years ago, as a reminder of the times and of how far we’ve come. 

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Peach Melba (Fresh Peaches with Ice Cream and Croquant)

There is nothing more satisfying than a perfectly ripe peach. When that happens, it is my job, as a pastry chef, not to screw it up. Nature is perfect, and often deserves to be left in its most pure form.

Having said that, I am a pastry chef and what fun would it be to serve a peach, unadorned, on a plate? So, I peeled the peach (which may be the sexiest dessert of all), removed the pit, stuffed it full of perfectly whipped cream with croquant (caramelized almonds) and set it on a bed of peach ice cream, to create my version of Peach Melba (Fresh Peaches with Ice Cream and Croquant).

Traditionally a Peach Melba is nothing more than peach, vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce. I stuck to peaches throughout, so the ice cream and whipped cream have peach puree added to them.

The original dessert was created in honor of an Australian opera singer by the first celebrity chef, Escoffier, back in the 1890s. Nellie Melba was performing in London and the chef created a dessert to celebrate her triumphant voice. This is very reminiscent of the story about the famous Pavlova, created for a ballerina. I am all in favor of worshiping creative genius with sweets. 

Despite the elegance of the this Peach Melba, it is really quite easy to make. You can watch me make it in my instagram video and the recipe is below.

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Caramelized White Chocolate Peach Scones

Caramelized White Chocolate Peach Scones from ZoeBakes | Photo by Zoë François

I rarely bake scones, since my son was deemed the scone expert in the family. But, I had a craving and he was busy being a teenager, so I set off to make these caramelized white chocolate and peach scones myself. He came home and told me I did a nice job, so that is really all the endorsement you should require to know these are worthy. 😉 The peaches sitting on my counter were ripe, but not busting open with juice, so they were just right for adding to the scone. You want them to have flavor and be ripe, but still have some body, so they don’t turn to mush when you mix them into the dough. Typically I’m not a huge white chocolate fan, but I’ve been on a white chocolate caramelizing kick and thought it would be a lovely match for the peaches. Caramelizing white chocolate give it a bit of a nutty edge that it otherwise lacks and makes it way more flavorful and interesting. Caramelizing the white chocolate is something that requires a touch of patience, so I recommend doing it with a glass of rose wine (not so much that you forget to stir the chocolate) and settle into the kitchen for a bit.

VIDEO: Watch me caramelize the chocolate and make the scones.

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Perfect Peach Pie with Lattice Crust

peach pie with lattice crust on ZoeBakes. Photo by Zoe Francois

When the peach season is a good one—and this year it is spectacular—it is best to keep peach pie simple. There is nothing more beautiful than a perfectly ripe, juicy, smooth, sweet peach, so don’t fuss it all up with too much extra stuff. This perfect peach pie with lattice crust is really just peaches, a touch of booze, which is optional and some raw sugar (use brown sugar if you don’t stock raw). The trick is binding the peaches enough to keep them together in a neat slice, without adding so much starch that is gets gloppy. This is an art, rather than a science (that’s only partially true), because each batch of peaches produces a different amount of juice. I tend to go on the under-bound edge of the spectrum, so keep that in mind when you are making your filling.

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