Posts Tagged With: Torte

234/365: National Eat A Peach Day*

If you’re a lover of sweet and juicy summertime fruit, you’ll be quite keen for today’s holiday! August 22 is National Eat A Peach Day.

It’s also National Pecan Torte Day. But we just celebrated National Pecan Pie Day last month, and though a torte is technically more like a cake than a pie, it’s still close enough to give us a serious case of deja vu and want to branch out and try something new. Something not-desserty. So, a peach it is!

Think peaches, and chances are, Georgia pops into your head. But the fruit actually originated in China, where it was a favorite of emperors and kings, and dates back to 2000 B.C. Cultivation spread throughout Persia and Greece, and when Alexander the Great conquered Persia, he introduced the fruit to Europe, where it quickly gained favor, especially with Romans. Archaeologists digging through the remains of towns decimated by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. found wall paintings depicting peach trees (along with the curious discovery of Kilroy was here in spray paint). Spanish explorers brought peaches to England and France in the 17th century, where they became valuable and expensive treats. English horticulturist George Minifie brought the first peaches to the North American colonies in the early 17th century, planting them at his Virginia estate. Commercial production began some 200 years later, centered in Delaware, Maryland, Georgia, and Virginia. Peach trees are kind of finicky; they require both cool winter temperatures for proper chilling, and intense summer heat to mature the crop. For this reason, their range is fairly limited.

Peaches and nectarines are the same species, though they are considered different fruit. The fuzzy skin of the peach is dominant, while the smooth skin of the nectarine is the result of a recessive gene.

I love both fruits, and was eager to celebrate today’s holiday – especially since fresh peaches are very much in season right now. If I had my little way, I’d eat peaches every day!

Celebrating this holiday was a breeze, but I’m a little bummed out. Last week I had fresh peaches from the farmer’s market, and they were amazing: perfectly sweet and juicy, just the right consistency. Since we were out of town last weekend we couldn’t make a trip to the farmer’s market, so we settled on peaches from the grocery store. Which paled in comparison. If you ever think farmer’s markets are “too expensive” (hi, dad!), I’m telling you, the little bit extra you’re paying is well worth it. You get quality produce and are supporting the local community.

National Eat A Peach Day

Categories: Fruit | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

72/365: National Coconut Torte Day

If you’re a lawyer in the tropics, then today is right up your alley: it’s National Coconut Torte Day! (Torte…tort…a case in which damage, injury, or a wrongful act was done willingly or negligently…okay, this joke was a stretch). The truth is, I never really knew what a torte was before today’s challenge. I thought it was a pie-like pastry, but Tara informed me that’s a tart. Talk about confusing! As it turns out, a torte is a fancy name for a multilayered cake.

Multilayered cakes date back centuries. In fact, the oldest known cake in the world was a Linzer Torte, an Austrian confection with a lattice top and a funny accent. Originally made in the town of Linz, Austria, the cake can be traced back to 1653 thanks to a recipe discovered in an abbey in Vienna in 2005. In the 1850s an Austrian tourist brought the recipe to Milwaukee, a city best known for beer, cheese, and Laverne & Shirley. From there, its popularity spread across the U.S.

If you’ve been reading this blog the past few days, you’ll know that I have recently learned that I do, in fact, have some baking skills. I found a recipe for a coconut torte that seemed easy enough (though perhaps a little too easy, as it was basically a box of white cake mix and a frosting made of sour cream, Cool Whip, sugar, and coconut). I can’t say it was difficult to make, though I did have to knock on my neighbor’s door after dark and borrow the sugar. She’s so used to me doing that, when she opened the door and saw me standing on her doorstep the first words out of her mouth were, “Do you need eggs or sugar?” So I’m giving a special shout-out to Andrea, who saved our coconut torte!

We brought it over to my parents’ house to share after dinner. And guess what? It got rave reviews! The first cake I’ve ever baked in my life turned out to be a rousing success.

Coconut Torte

Categories: Desserts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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