White Peach Bars ~ these are thing things summer dreams are made of, with delicate and juicy white peaches baked up in a butter golden shortbread crumble crust !
Apparently, farmers used to throw white peaches in the trash, thinking the easily bruised, pale fruit couldn’t compete with sturdy, bright yellow peaches in the supermarkets of America. I’m so glad they finally realized there was a taste for this beautiful, delicate variety. When you bite into a white peach there’s a hint of floral, and they’re sweeter, and less acidic than the yellow ones. I add a touch of fresh lemon juice to balance out that sweetness. Their pale flesh bakes up to a gorgeous blush color when you leave the peel on. I almost always leave the peel on stone fruit because that’s where so much of the flavor and color is. They are so appealing baked up into these crumble squares. Serve warm with a little creme fraiche or vanilla bean ice cream.
I like to use ripe but firm fruit to bake with. The baking softens it and brings out the juiciness , but firm fruit holds its shape so you don’t end up with mush. You really only need 2 good sized peaches for this dessert.
You might be able to tell from the wan light in the photos that we’ve been having some unusual rain here in Southern California. Even some lightning, which for us is pretty exotic. These white peach bars are a lovely summer treat that hints of fall, and it’s especially wonderful when you are a little sick of frozen, no-bake, and otherwise chilly desserts. It’s absolutely divine with coffee for breakfast.
I used vanilla in the shortbread dough, but it occurred to me as I was taste testing these that maybe a hint of cinnamon or other warm spice would also be nice. Possibly cardamom, nutmeg, or allspice…choose only one, and just use a pinch, so as not to overpower. If you’re feeling rich, vanilla bean would be incredible. You can see how divine the texture is in the photos…
So many ways to enjoy peaches when they’re around for all too brief a time…I recently made BOURBON FRIED PEACHES WITH ICE CREAM ~ the bourbon is such a nice touch. But probably the simplest way to eat ripe summer peaches is on a stick, aka my RIPE PEACH POPSICLES.
- 2 large ripe but firm white peaches
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup, 2 sticks, unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup oat flour (substitute regular flour if you like)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp rolled oats (quick cooking or regular)
- Set the oven to 350F
- Wash and slice the peaches, but do not peel them. Put the slices in a bowl and toss gently with the lemon juice and the cornstarch. Set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar together and then beat in the salt and the vanilla. Blend in the flours and stir just until the mixture comes together in a crumbly texture. Do not add the rolled oats at this time.
- Take about 2/3 of the dough and press lightly into the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish that has been lightly sprayed. I like to line it with a piece of parchment so I can lift out the bars for neat cutting, but this isn't necessary. Flour your hands if the dough is too sticky to pat down.
- Give the peaches a final toss and lay them out across the dough. If they are super juicy, don't add all the extra juices.
- Mix the oats into the remaining dough with your fingertips. Crumble it over the peaches. Don't worry about covering all the fruit, some can peek through.
- Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until the crust is just beginning to turn golden around the edges and the fruit is bubbling.
- Let cool a bit before cutting.
- Use ripe but firm fruit. Too much juice will make the bars soggy.
- If you need to do some of the work ahead of time, make the dough and pat the crust into the pan, but don’t slice or add the peaches or topping until ready to bake.
- Don’t store these under plastic, they will become too moist. A loose layer of foil is fine.
- These are best eaten the day they are made.
make it your own:
- Any not-too-juicy stone fruit would work with these bars. Firmer Italian plums would be a good choice, as would apricots, nectarines, and firm pluots.
- Add vanilla bean to the crust, or a dash of spice like cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, or allspice.
- Substitute almond extract for the vanilla and add sliced almonds to the top crust.
- You can leave out the oat flour and just use all-purpose flour. You can use white whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose flour.
- A good gluten free flour blend should work well with this recipe.
- Make this in a round 9 inch cake or tart pan and serve it in wedges.
- I don’t think it needs a glaze, but you could make a simple drizzle out of the leftover juices and some confectioner’s sugar. Drizzle the squares before serving.
Don’t forget to pin these white peach bars!