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Peach Gazpacho

Nikiko Masumoto developed this recipe, a peachy version of the Spanish classic. It’s a great use of soft peaches.

6 soft to gushy peaches (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, pitted and quartered

1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar or golden balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 to 3/4 cup water

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley

Red bell pepper slices and avocado slices, for garnish (optional)

In a food processor, combine the peaches, cucumber, garlic, vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup water, and pulse until coarsely puréed. Thin with the remaining 1/4 cup water if needed for a good consistency. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to chill thoroughly.

Just before serving, taste and adjust the seasoning with more vinegar, salt and pepper if needed. Stir in the cilantro. Ladle into bowls, drizzle each serving with a little oil, and garnish with the bell pepper and avocado. Serve at once.

Makes about 6 cups; serves 6 to 8.

Old-Fashioned Peach Pie

“The tricky thing about peach pie is adjusting the amount of thickener – flour or tapioca – in relation to the juiciness of your peaches,” said Marcy Masumoto. “Because our peaches are extremely juicy, which is how they are supposed to be, I always put aluminum foil or a pan on the rack below my pie to catch juices that might escape during baking. That saves a lot of time cleaning the oven.

“If you have extra-juicy peaches, you may want to do a lattice-top crust or cut larger holes in the top crust to allow more steam to vent,” she added. “If your pie does not cool completely or has not baked long enough, the filling will be runny, so make sure you leave it in the oven long enough and let it cool fully to room temperature before cutting into it.

“If you are using a deep-dish pie pan, use 7 to 8 cups sliced peaches, and increase the sugar and flour or tapioca accordingly.”

For pastry:

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes

1/2 cup vegetable shortening (not margarine), chilled

6 to 7 tablespoons ice water

For filling:

6 cups fresh peaches (with a little give), pitted, peeled and sliced or partially thawed frozen peach slices

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 to 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, instant tapioca or tapioca flour

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into 1/4 -inch cubes

1 tablespoon heavy cream or half-and-half (optional)

1 teaspoon turbinado sugar (optional)

Pastry (by hand): In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt, mixing well. Distribute the butter and shortening over the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, work in the butter until it is the size of small peas.

Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and work it into the flour mixture with your hands until it is moist enough to hold together and you can shape it into a ball. Do not overwork the dough or the pastry will be tough.

Pastry (with food processor): Alternating, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor, and pulse to mix well. Distribute the butter and shortening over the flour mixture, and pulse until the fat is the size of small peas.

Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the mixture comes together in a rough mass. Remove the dough from the processor and shape into a ball.

Divide the dough into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Flatten each ball into a disk 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

When you are ready to assemble the pie, dust your work surface with flour. Unwrap the larger disk, place on the floured surface and roll out into a round at least 13 inches in diameter and 1/8 -inch thick. Transfer the round to a 9-inch pie pan, gently fitting it into the bottom and sides. Trim the edge of the pastry to leave a 1-inch overhang around the rim of the pan.

Pie: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the peaches in a large bowl. Drizzle them with the lemon juice and stir gently to coat evenly. If your peaches are especially juicy, drain off the excess juice and reserve for drinking later – or even while you make the pie – and use the larger amount of flour.

In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the fruit and toss gently to coat the peaches evenly. Set the peaches aside.

Pour the filling into the pastry-lined pie pan. Distribute the cubes of salted butter evenly over the filling. Roll out the second pastry disk the same way into a round at least 11 inches in diameter and 1/8 -inch thick.

Gently lay the round over the filled pastry, then trim the edge to match the overhang of the bottom layer. Fold the overhang either over itself or under itself to create an edge, sealing the edge securely and fluting it for an attractive appearance.

Brush the top crust with the cream, then sprinkle it with the turbinado sugar. Cut at least 6 large slits in the top crust to allow the steam to vent during baking. Cover the edges with foil or a crust protector if needed to prevent overbrowning.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the sheet on the lower rack of the oven to catch drips as the pie bakes. Place the pie on the center rack above the sheet and bake 50 to 60 minutes.

Check the crust after 40 minutes. If the edges are not the same color as the exposed top of the crust, remove the edge cover. When the filling is bubbling and the crust is evenly browned, the pie is ready.

Let the pie cool completely (this will take at least 2 to 3 hours) on a wire rack before serving, then cut into wedges to serve.

Cook’s note: Put any rolled-out pastry trimmings on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Enjoy with a glass of cold milk for some down-home comfort food.

Makes one 9-inch double-crust pie; serves 6 to 8.

Peach Bruschetta

For arugula pesto:

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup walnuts

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups arugula

Salt and freshly ground pepper

For bruschetta:

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing the bread

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

1 baguette, cut into 3/8 -inch slices

1 or 2 cloves garlic, smashed

2 soft small peaches, peeled, halved, pitted and cut into wedges 1/4 -inch thick

Shaved Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Coarse salt

To make the pesto, combine the garlic and walnuts in a small food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the oil and arugula, and continue to pulse until the mixture is evenly moist and spreadable. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the bruschetta, heat the oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and rosemary. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft. Set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare a medium-hot fire in a gas or charcoal grill. When the fire is ready, paint each bread slice on both sides with oil.

Arrange the bread on the grill rack and toast, turning once, for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. (If you do not have a grill, toast the bread on both sides in a preheated broiler until golden brown.)

When the bread slices are ready, let them cool enough to handle, then rub the smashed garlic cloves on both sides of each slice. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the pesto on one side of each bread slice. (You will need only 1/2 cup pesto; cover and store any remaining pesto in the refrigerator for another use.)

Top each slice with some of the caramelized onion, 1 or 2 peach slices, a little Parmesan and a sprinkle of salt. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4 to 6.

– “The Perfect Peach” by David Mas, Marcy and Nikiko Masumoto