Exquisitely ripe fresh peaches are a favorite at Midwest roadside stands, farmers markets and supermarkets—perfect for creating luscious peachy dishes. You can substitute frozen peaches in most of these recipes when fresh ones aren't in season.
The family behind Illinois' Rendleman Orchards has amassed some great peach recipes in 135 years of growing peaches. This cake is no exception. Peach slices and brown sugar form a moist base for the tender, square cake--and when flipped over, that base becomes the topping. We like the cake warm with ice cream.
The memory of a childhood orchard trip inspired Melinsa Murphey of Olathe, Kansas, to create this recipe, which was a finalist in our 2012 Best of the Midwest® Recipe Contest. The cakes are moist and sweet and quite generously proportioned, so you may want to serve a half-cake to each person (or bake them in muffin cups instead).
This Dutch specialty, a puff pancake, bakes into a bowl shape that cradles a pile of sliced fresh peaches. The recipe comes from the Hidden Lake Bed and Breakfast in Jonesboro, Illinois, where the pannekoeken gets a dollop of sour cream and a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar. "It's simple, presents elegantly and always generates a round of oohs and aahs from our guests," says B&B co-owner Mary Jo Smith. "We typically serve it with maple sausage."
Peach Pinwheel Dumplings is a family recipe from Rendleman Orchards in southern Illinois, a region where some of the Midwest's finest fruit is found. "For the ultimate in old-fashioned comfort food, try Granny Rendleman's dumplings," says Betty Sirles of Rendleman Orchards. It takes some time to make, but, as Betty says: "Boy, is it worth the effort!"
"This very simple fruit dish goes over big," says Mary Jo Smith, describing this breakfast at Hidden Lake Bed and Breakfast in Jonesboro, Illinois. She serves it in sundae glasses with a swirl of yogurt on top. For a variation, add raspberries to the peaches.
Like any good cook, Mary Jo Smith of Hidden Lake Bed and Breakfast adjusts her recipes as she prepares them over time. She has fine-tuned the custard layer for Peach Kuchen and added spices to the peaches. If you're in a hurry, Mary Jo recommends substituting a single refrigerated unbaked piecrust for the Kuchen Crust.
Flamm's Peach Cobbler is a combination of recipes that's baked for the Flamm Fruits and Cream stand at the orchard's Cobden, Illinois, market (left). It's heavenly served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
For a no-bake summer favorite, try Creamy Peach Yogurt Pie. The recipe comes from the Flamm family's Good Food from the Orchard Cookbook, which is sold at their market.
Southern Illinois' peach growers provide the fruit that stars in specialty dishes at local eateries. This Peach Chutney recipe comes from Gerd Hedman, who owns the Peach Barn Cafe in Alto Pass with her husband, Anders. "We serve this with spicy food, like pork tenderloin or shrimp curry," Gerd says. She and Anders also run the Peach Barn Bed and Breakfast and Hedman Winery.
Gerd recommends serving the chutney with a glass of dry to semi-dry local white wine. You can freeze the chutney for up to six months.
Cranberries make this peach crumble special--no surprise, since the recipe comes from Canoe Bay resort near Chetek, Wisconsin. Wisconsin produces more cranberries than any other state in the nation. Serve with your choice of store-bought ice cream if you don't have time to make the Hint-of-Ginger Ice Cream accompaniment.
Juicy, fresh peaches star in this dessert, based on store-bought pound cake. "It's easy and there's nothing to it," says the Rochester, Minnesota, reader who contributed the recipe. "It takes only about 5 minutes to prepare."