It began with a half-bushel of round, ripe, yellow peaches that a friend brought back from a family farm in Maryland and deposited on my kitchen doorstep. I ate a few, and then a few more, standing over the kitchen sink, the juices dripping down my arms. They were so ripe the skins lifted off with a gentle tug from a table knife and so delicious, so delicious, so delicious I hardly know where to begin to describe the flavor, the aroma, the sensation in my mouth. Peaches are the very definition of seasonal fruit—you cannot enjoy them except ripe from the orchard. The so-called "peaches" we find in our markets the rest of the year are hard round croquet balls by comparison—and they taste like it too.
But once the initial greed was sated, what to do with the rest of the magnificent bunch? My Facebook appeal was met with a variety of responses, some hopelessly complex ("make a lemony glaze with rosemary and peperoncino," advised a friend in Umbria), some suspiciously simple ("cuppa sugar, cuppa flour, cuppa milk," topped with peaches and baked). But Gabriella Becchina, who lives on a gorgeous olive oil estate in southern Sicily (her family makes Olio Verde), intrigued me. "Why not," she asked, "a simple quatre-quarts with sliced peaches sunk in the cake batter?"Keep reading »