Garden Recipe: Pecan-Stuffed Baked Peaches
Southern California enjoyed more rain than usual this spring which has made for a glorious stone-fruit season
We’ve added a new section to our magazine this month! Here you’ll find a recipe developed by Phoebe von Reis. You may remember her from the June issue’s “Ladies Who Make Lunch” story. We so loved Phoebe’s philosophy of only using in-season produce and making everything from scratch that we asked her to create a monthly recipe for us with whatever’s fresh and accessible in gardens and farmers markets. In addition to Phoebe’s instructions, she’s included a little backstory, and we filled in with lots of tips about growing, harvesting and cooking with her pick-of-the-month.
The peaches and nectarines this summer are particularly sweet and juicy. If you are lucky enough to have a peach tree you will be looking for new ways to use them in all of their abundance. Otherwise, you can find perfect yellow or white organic peaches at the local farmers market. Note: Some say yellow peaches are better for baking because of a slightly sturdier flesh that holds up well to heat.
This recipe was a favorite for many summers when I worked as a private chef on a lake in the Adirondacks of upstate New York. It was a hit with guests because of its simplicity and for bringing all the peachiness of summer to mind (and for feeling indulgent while being quite healthy). It is a perfect recipe for any diet, clicking all the boxes of vegan, gluten-free and paleo with no refined sugars. What is most loved is the presentation, where peaches keep their intact beauty and the pecan that garnishes the top of each peach round gives the appearance that the stone of the fruit is still there, but in fact, you can eat it in all its nutty richness!
Freestone peaches are best to use in this recipe because the pits are easy to remove and they leave a small crater to fill with your nut mixture. But any peach or nectarine will work well, even if you must dig the pit out with a paring knife.
Pecan-Stuffed Baked Peaches with Miso Date Caramel
Baked Peach Halves
4 ripe yet firm peaches or nectarines
3/4 cup pecans (plus 8 whole ones set aside for garnish)
3 Tbsp. coconut sugar, divided
dash of cinnamon (optional)
Slice peaches into equal halves along the seam of the fruit and separate the halves.
Pulse the pecans, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and a dash of cinnamon in a food processor until a crumbly paste forms that you can squeeze together with your fingers. If it’s too crumbly add a spoonful of almond butter and work it into the paste.
Remove pits from the fruit and fill each small crater of the peaches with the pecan paste. Place a whole pecan on top of the paste for each peach half. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes.
Place warm peaches in a pool of date caramel (recipe follows) and/or serve with ice cream. The leftover nut mixture can be added to oatmeal for breakfast!
Miso Date Caramel
This dairy-free “caramel” made from sweet dates pairs so well with the peaches, offering an umami element with the addition of some white miso paste. It is delicious even without the miso if you do not have any on hand, but the salty quality of the miso is a flavor enhancement that creates extra tang and intrigue.
1 cup pitted Medjool dates
1/2 cup coconut nectar or maple syrup
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. mellow white miso (optional) or a pinch of salt
Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.
On the Side: Juicy Tidbits
Store peaches at room temperature stem-side down. You can move them to the refrigerator if they ripen before you use or eat them to get two (or so) more days out of them. If they start to wrinkle, the peaches are probably starting to dry out.
Turn up the heat
Firmer peaches make excellent grilling candidates. Brush halves with olive oil and put over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes uncovered. Serve as a side dish with spicier meats.
Rather than using a knife or vegetable peeler to de-skin the ripe fruit, drop whole peaches into boiling water for 30 seconds, then drop them in ice water. The peel will split and practically fall off by itself.