Fresh Peach Dumplings

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I have loved farmer's markets for as long as I can remember.  Growing up, my mom and I often went to the closest farmer's market in Monument, but occasionally we'd make the trek to the Old Colorado City market, which is held in Bancroft Park.  I always knew summer had really arrived when the peaches from Palisade made their appearance.  Not only could you see the table full of the pale orange fruit, but you could smell the peachy fragrance.  Rarely did all the peaches that we purchased at the market make it home (let alone out of the park) - at their prime, these peaches are juicy and flavorful and taste, to me, like summer.

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Last year, my dear friend H threw a dinner party and served the most incredible dessert - fresh peach dumplings.  These couldn't be easier to make (wrap peaches in pastry dough and make a simple sauce to pour over them) and can be served with ice cream or whipped cream or just as-is.  They are an easy dessert to take to someone else's house as well - just prep the sauce and the dumplings and bake them upon arrival.  

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A few thoughts about the recipe.  First, the original recipe calls for the peaches to be peeled.  I am both lazy and someone who enjoys skin on fruit, so mine are not peeled.  Do as you wish!  Second, I have served these both with and without the sauce.  If you have whipped cream or ice cream, you may not need the sauce, but it is easy to whip together.  Third, I have eaten these filled with blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.  If you don't have another type of fruit to put in the middle, no worries - it just gives the dish a bit of color and extra flavor.   When fall arrives (hopefully not for another month or so), I'll be making these with apples, perhaps stuffed with cranberries?  Finally, I have used extra pie dough (try this recipe or this one), frozen puff pastry and frozen filo dough for the crust.  All of these options work well.

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Fresh Peach Dumplings

Yield = 6 servings (1 peach per person)

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Enough pastry for 2-crust, 9 inch pie

6 fresh peaches

3/4 cup fresh blueberries, 1 pint of blackberries or 1 pint of raspberries (whatever you'd like to put inside the peaches)

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup additional butter, melted

juice of 1 lemon

grated rind of 1 lemon

optional - fresh whipped cream or ice cream (vanilla, cinnamon or crème fraîchewould complement this dish)

1.  Roll pastry 1/8" thick on lightly floured surface.*  Cut into six 5-inch squares (this does not need to be exact, but be sure the square will cover the peach entirely).  

2.  Split peaches enough to remove pit. Fill each pit cavity with approximately 2 tablespoons blueberries, 2 blackberries or 2-3 raspberries (the amount of fruit that will fit in the peach obviously depends on the size of the pit you have removed). 

3.  Place each peach in center of a pastry square and fold corners to the center over top of peach.  Press edges together and prick with fork.  Arrange close together in buttered, shallow casserole dish.  

4. Combine sugar, water, 1/4 cup melted butter, nutmeg and cinnamon; heat until sugar is dissolved.  Pour mixture over dumplings.**  Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes. 

5.  While the dumplings are baking, make the sauce.  Combine powdered sugar, remaining 1/4 cup melted butter, lemon juice and lemon rind; beat until mixture is light and fluffy.  Serve over warm dumplings.

*If you are using filo dough, I'd use 2-3 sheets (they are very thin) and not cut them, just wrap one peach in each group of 2-3 sheets.  Use additional sheets if you prefer lots of crust.

** If you plan to take these to someone else's house to bake, I'd make the sauce in step 4 but not pour it over the dumplings until you have arrived at your destination.  

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