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Peachy Summer Icebox Cakes

June 2018
Playing off the popular 1930s dessert, Jessica Grossman, executive pastry chef of Patrick Properties Hospitality Group, makes individual “icebox cakes” that are fruit-forward with sweet summer peaches and layered with brown-sugar cookie crunch
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For the peach freezer jam: (Yields 3 pints)

3 lbs. ripe peaches, peeled and pitted
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 (1.75 oz.) pink box Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin for No Sugar Needed Recipes
1 cup water
3 (1 pt.) canning jars or freezer containers, rinsed with boiling water and thoroughly dried

For the brown sugar lace cookies:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. table salt
2 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the whipped cream:

1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups heavy cream
Sift the sugar into a deep bowl and stir in the cream. Whip to stiff peaks.


For the peach freezer jam:

Finely chop the peaches. Measure exactly four cups for the jam, saving any remaining fruit for another use. Transfer the peaches to a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until boiling throughout. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.

Combine the sugar, pectin, and water in a three-quart saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Any lumps of pectin will dissolve as the mixture boils. Continue to boil and stir for one minute. Remove from heat, add the warm peach mixture all at once, and stir for one minute, or until completely blended with no streaks remaining.

Carefully ladle the hot mixture into the prepared jars or containers, filling them no more than 1/2 inch from the top to allow for expansion in the freezer. Clean any drips off of the rims and seal with the lids. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Refrigerate one pint for the icebox cakes and refrigerate or freeze the remainder to enjoy later. The jam will keep for three weeks in the refrigerator or up to one year in the freezer.

For the brown sugar lace cookies:

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and whisk together. Combine the butter and brown sugar in a medium bowl and mix with a wooden spoon or sturdy silicone spatula until well combined. Stir in the egg, then the vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture until no streaks remain. The dough will be very sticky. Refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop 12 heaping tablespoons of chilled dough three inches apart onto each of the prepared sheets. Baking two sheets of cookies at a time, bake the cookies for 10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the cookies are a deep golden brown around the edges. They will puff up and then flatten out in the oven. Cool completely on the baking sheets. Stored in an airtight container, the cookies will keep for one week.

To complete:

Spoon a small amount of whipped cream into the bottom of eight rocks glasses. Crumble one cookie on top. Top with about two tablespoons of whipped cream, spreading it out gently to cover the pieces of cookie. Top with two tablespoons of peach jam, spreading it out gently to cover the whipped cream. Repeat the layers two more times, ending with a small dollop of jam and some cookie crumble. Refrigerate for at least four hours. Covered, the icebox cakes will keep up to two days in the refrigerator.

CHEF’S NOTE: Freezer jam can be made from any summer fruit and frozen for a year-round taste of the season.