While I'm in the mode of walking down summer's memory lane, I find in my notes that a wonderful recipe that used some of our last peaches from our peach crop has not been blogged upon. How could I overlook this unusual, incredible dish that mixes our own peach fruit with the fruit of our prized pecan trees?
Somehow in my rhapsodic euphoria about Peach Preserves and Peach Muffins and all the other peach delirium of the summer, I've neglected to mention Upside-Down Ginger-Pecan Peach Pie, which originally caught my attention and netted a spot in my new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, because of the "upside-down" nature of it all. It's just so out-of-the-box, which is probably why the California Peaches Plums and Nectarines Network distributed the recipe in the first place. That's how I acquired it.
The purpose of the Network's advancing the recipe, if I recall correctly, was to encourage people about how wonderful peaches taste when they are grilled. I had never thought of that. Truthfully Upside-Down Ginger-Pecan Peach Pie is just as great if you decide to cut up the peach slices into a saucepan, add a little water, and blanch them on the stovetop (or in the microwave in a suitable bowl).
Since I didn't have a charcoal outdoor grill going, I simply pulled out my countertop George Foreman grill and quickly browned them so I could get onto the remainder of the process for this "upside-down" recipe.
I can tell you that the beauty of this recipe, besides the ravishing grilled peaches, of course, is the shortbread that is produced from mixture of the dry ingredients that later is sprinkled over the warm peaches and ice cream. That shortbread lasted us much longer than the peaches did; later we crumbled it over some pudding or even over toast.
So the recipe title also should tout the shortbread by calling it, "Upside-Down Ginger-Pecan Peach Shortbread Pie". The shortbread is a gift that keeps on giving even after the delicious peaches are gone . . . gone but not forgotten--here's to next summer 2011!
Upside-Down Ginger-Pecan Peach Pie
1 cup flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 tablespoons minced crystallied ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons softened butter, divided
1 tablespoon brown sugar (I used brown-sugar substitute)
4 firm peaches, pitted and cut into 8 slices each
sugar-free whipped topping or sugar-free ice cream, optional
Preheat oven to 325 degrees; spray a loaf pan with nonfat cooking spray. Stir together flour, powdered sugar, pecans, crystallized ginger, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Add in 1/2 cup butter and mix well to form a soft dough. Press into the bottom of prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. Set aside to cool; then break into a rough crumble,. Leave some larger and smaller pieces. In a large bowl in the microwave melt remaining butter and cinnamon with brown sugar. Toss fruit in butter mixture; then grill over high heat for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side to lightly brown. Remove from grill. Place ice cream in bowls. Top with warm fruit and sprinkle with crumbled shortbread. Makes 8 servings.