I love farmers markets. In fact, I even check them out when I am visiting a city and have no access to a kitchen. I love to see what fruits and vegetables are in season. Buying produce and handmade goods from the people who grew them or made them makes me happy.
This past Saturday I went to the market at the Saint Augustine Amphitheater. Like all farmers markets, it would be a great place to go trawling for hippies. By 10am the place is teeming with men, women and children, all donning their cloth recyclable bags to purchase tie died clothing, plants, homemade lemonade, organic teas, fresh made bread, local cheese, fish, crab cakes, meat, sausages and of course, produce.
Besides my staples: onions, red bell peppers, and tomatoes, I was there to buy peaches.
For thirteen bucks, I bought eight peaches, two red bell peppers, four granny smith apples, two pints of cherries, a yellow onion and a huge red tomato perfect for a sandwich.
My friend Jae says if you eat something, and it runs down your arm to your elbow, it means it’s good. This theory definitely applies to pizza and peaches, and maybe a good sandwich, extra saucy ribs or chicken wings. If something is so delicious you need a bib and a roll of paper towels, I want to eat it.
Peaches right now smell intoxicating, and the taste is heavenly. A few days ago, I brought one to work and made people smell it – like I was sharing a secret. If I like you, I will let you smell my peach. If you are really nice, I will cut you a slice. If I love you, I will make you a cake.
Peach and Cherry Upside Down Skillet Cake
2 cups Cherries
1 ½ sticks of Butter, divided, and softened
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
½ tsp. Cinnamon
1 ½ cups Flour
1 cup Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Salt
2/3 cup Milk
½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
½ tsp. Almond Extract
2 Eggs, at room temperature
(If you want to save yourself the trouble, you can use a yellow cake mix. From the ingredients list, omit one stick of Butter, and everything in the list from Flour to Eggs. Then just follow the directions for mixing up the cake on the back of the box. I must warn you though, no one brags about making a cake out of a box, and if you do, its bad form.)
Preheat Oven for 350.
Rinse Cherries. Pit Cherries. Set aside. It is easiest to do if you have an olive/cherry pitter. Also, having one encourages me to buy cherries every year when they are in season. The difference between fresh and frozen is huge, and the trouble is worth it.
Peel Peaches. Cut Peaches in half and remove pits. Slice Peaches in half. Slice each half into six slices. Zest and juice Lemon. Mix with the sliced Peaches and set aside.
In a 10” flat bottomed Skillet, melt ½ stick Butter over Medium Low heat. Mix in Brown Sugar and Cinnamon. Turn off heat.
For the Cake, sift together the Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt.
Melt the remaining Stick of Butter on defrost in the microwave for approx. 30 seconds. If it is not completely melted, it is okay.
Mix the Butter into the dry ingredients, until just combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the Milk, Vanilla Extract, Almond Extract and Eggs.
Slowly whisk into the Dry Ingredients/Butter mixture. Beat until smooth.
Arrange the Peaches over the Brown Sugar and Butter mixture in the Skillet. Scatter Cherries throughout. Leave about a half cup of the cherries for garnish.
Pour the Cake Batter over the fruit in the Skillet.
Bake in oven, on center rack for 35-40 minutes.
When Cake is finished, let it stand on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.
Place Cake stand or serving platter over skillet. Carefully flip over, and Cake will release itself onto the plate.
Garnish with leftover Cherries.
Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream or homemade Whip Cream, or both.
*Please make sure your skillet is oven safe. As a precaution, I usually wrap the handle in tin foil. I also prefer to use a non stick skillet.
Heather Saalfeld has lived and worked in downtown St. Augustine for the last 15 years. She has a ten year old son, Leo and a bad dog named Jeffe. Her passions are travel, food and entertaining. She is a bartender at St. George Tavern and Cap’s on the Water, and a full time student at Flagler College. In her spare time she attempts to garden. Her best days are spent with family and friends, usually around a large table in the back yard.