August celebrates the third-most-popular fruit grown in America: the peach. In March 1982, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July to be National Peach Month, but over time the celebration has moved to August.
Originating in China, the world’s largest peach producer, the fuzzy and juicy fruit grows in two ways: clingstone and freestone. Clingstone means the flesh adheres to the seed, while freestone peaches separate more easily from the pit.
Used in muffins, pies, salsas and glazes, peaches are a versatile and delicious fruit. One of my favorite ways to have almost any fruit is in a cobbler, and this recipe takes a spin on that classic dessert by combining it with a creamy cheesecake mixture and serving it cold.
Imagine tender bites of sweet peaches in a luscious cheesecake dressing speckled with contrasting crunches of cinnamon-graham bits. One spoonful will have you hooked! The crisp cobbler crumbs are made by mixing brown sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg and microwaving it until it’s bubbly.
Crushed graham crackers are stirred into the mixture, spread on a baking sheet and get a light sprinkle of sugar before being baked golden brown. The heavenly dressing is made with cream cheese, cheesecake instant pudding mix and French vanilla liquid coffee creamer (which, BTW, is amazing stirred into root beer or orange soda – it gives the flavor of a float or creamsicle).
The mixture is beat until smooth and lush, then the star of the show, fresh diced peaches, is folded into the dessert. It’s finished off with the cobbler crumbs, which can be mixed in or sprinkled on top when serving.
To make this in advance, refrigerate the cheesecake mixture and peaches separately and combine them when ready to serve. If the fruit has excess liquid, be sure to drain it before mixing it in the dish.
Peach Cobbler Cheesecake Salad
Adapted from theslowroasteditalian.com.
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 package graham crackers, crumbled into little pieces (9 sheets)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 (3.4-ounce) package instant cheesecake flavored pudding, unprepared
1 cup French vanilla creamer (liquid)
4 pounds peaches, cut into bite-size pieces
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Stir together the brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a medium-size microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the sugar is melted and the mixture is bubbly. Stir in the crumbled graham crackers until they’re thoroughly coated.
Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
To make the cheesecake dressing, beat the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, then add in the dry pudding mix and beat until combined.
With the mixer on low, slowly incorporate the creamer into the cream cheese mix, about a tablespoon at a time, then beat until smooth.
Fold the peaches into the cheesecake dressing and chill until ready to serve. Right before serving, stir in cobbler crumbs (breaking apart big pieces) or sprinkle on top of each individual serving.
Audrey Alfaro can be reached at email@example.com.
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