Capture summer's sweetness in fresh peach and nectarine dishes

If you’ve bitten into a peach or nectarine lately, you already know this year’s crop is exceptionally delicious and flavorful. With supplies good and prices affordable, many of us of are not only bringing home peaches and nectarines for eating out of hand, but for using in recipes, too – especially for things that are sweet. Aside from the usual jams, cobblers and ice cream, peaches and nectarines are also delectable in cakes, pies and tarts. Full of the taste of summer and spiced just right, you will marvel at just how easy it is to put together Nectarine Buttermilk Coffee Cake and Peach Crostata. The crostata, a free-form kind of rustic tart/pie, is especially fun to “play” with – so much so that you might choose to make a crostata out of your fruit pies from here on out. None of the recipes here requires more than three or four peaches or nectarines, and more than likely, everything else you need is already on hand. When purchasing peaches and nectarines, select fruit that is neither hard, nor mushy and yields slightly when pressed. In addition, give your fruit the “sniff” test – no smell means no flavor. Peaches and nectarines should smell as you expect them to taste, peachy.


Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at


Nectarine Buttermilk Coffee Cake

6 tablespoons butter, softened

¾ cup, plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1½ cups self-rising flour*

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

3 large eggs

½ cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 medium nectarines, unpeeled

For the topping

¼ cup brown sugar

¾ teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan; set aside. Blend flour with cinnamon; set aside. Cream butter and granulated sugar in the mixing bowl of an electric mixer set to medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until yellow disappears between each addition. Lower speed of mixer, and alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, mixing just until combined.


Do not overmix. Stir in vanilla. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Cut each nectarine in half, then cut each half into four slices to make 8 slices each. Evenly distribute the nectarines over the batter. Blend the brown sugar and cinnamon to make the topping, and evenly sprinkle over fruit.

Bake until cake is golden brown, about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool for 20 minutes in pan on a wire rack, then remove sides of pan. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings.


*Kitchen Ade note: If you don’t have self-rising flour, here’s the formula for making your own: Sift together 1 cup flour, ½ teaspoon salt and 1½ teaspoons baking powder. Makes 1 cup.

Peach Crostata

Pastry for a 9-inch pie, homemade or store bought

4 large peaches, thinly sliced

½ cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon butter

1 large egg, beaten

1 tablespoon coarse sugar for sprinkling on crust

Ice cream for serving, optional


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; dust the paper lightly with flour. Place pastry onto the paper and roll into an 11-inch circle; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, gently toss the peaches with the granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Pour fruit mixture into the center of the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border around the edges; dot peaches with butter.

Free-form crostata

Fold the dough border over the filling to form an 8-inch round, leaving the peaches exposed in the center. Pleat dough loosely and pinch the dough to seal any gaps. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the coarse sugar. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the fruit is bubbling and slightly caramelized. Cool the crostata on a wire rack for 15 minutes before cutting. Serve warm with ice cream. Makes 6 servings.


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