What is a “Donut Peach”?

My life slowed down a little bit this past week, no meetings, a couple of afternoons in the gift shop and two funerals! Friday, the funeral was for one of my neighbors, she was a really sweet lady and will truly be missed.
Saturday, the funeral was for one of our older Auxiliary members and several of us gathered at her service as sort of an honor guard. We were all in our uniforms, sat behind the ushers and followed them and the casket out of church. It is not as impressive when there are only half a dozen of us as it is when there are over ten. Each church has its own preferred way of what they want us to do. At our church, when there are eight, ten or more, we line up on either side of the steps that lead out of church to the hearse and stand there until they close the doors of the hearse. Since we were just a few, on Saturday, we just lined up outside the door that was used to bring the casket out. The families are always appreciative of what we do, and many of them are not aware that we do this until we are seated in the church.
Have you recently noticed a peach in the produce section at the grocery that looks a little strange? It is round and flat and really resembles a doughnut without a hole! It has intrigued me enough that I finally got busy and got on Goggle to see what it is. There are several articles, but surprisingly enough, there are none from Wikipedia the free encyclopedia. It seems that our stores are not the only stores selling them, as the lady who wrote some of the information states that she has seen them piled high at farmers’ markets, Whole Foods has them in clam shells and they are also available at FRESH DIRECT.
The official name on the tag at the store was “Peach Pie Donut Peach”, intriguing isn’t it? This peach is round and flat like a doughnut rather than spherical as are most peaches. They are not any type of genetically changed oddities. Rather, they are the descendents of wild “pan tao”, also known as peento peaches from China that was brought to the United States nearly 150 years ago.
During the ‘60s and ‘70s scientists at Rutgers New Jersey Experiments Station hybridized plants to help them produce hardier trees, that would be more frost resistant and have larger, sweeter fruit. They called the fruit “SATURN”, and if you see it, you will understand why.
In the ‘80s, STARK BROS. NURSERIES AND ORCHARDS CO. in Missouri purchased the license to grow and sell the trees.
They were originally intended for home gardeners, however flat peaches growing in Washington came to the attention of FREIDA SPECIALTY PRODUCE. This company is credited with making the produce section in our stores more colorful and more flavorful. They are the ones who introduced spaghetti squash, kiwi, and many other fruits and vegetables to the United States market.
The President/CEO of Frieda tells of being in the conference room when a salesperson pulled out the flat peaches. She immediately said that they looked like doughnuts and the rest is history, as “Donut” became the name of the peach. They obtained a trademark for the name and were the only ones to produce the flat peach for many years.
In the early 2000s the Starks license expired and more farmers were able to grow the peach than before. Now, it is estimated that there are 15 to 20 kinds in the world as people have continued to graft and hybridize.
The original Saturn was a freestone type of peach as the pits were easily removable, the skin was pink, and the flesh was white. Now, there are flat peaches with yellow skin, yellow or pink flesh and stones that “cling”.
If you want any more information, go to Goggle, type in Peach Pie Donut Peach and there is quite a bit of information. I only used one site, and it was attributed to “Bon Appétit”.
Pie Crust Peach Cobbler
This was in a magazine several years ago, it purports to be from Don Strange Catering)
Pie Crust
2 cups flour
2/3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons ice water
Peach Filling
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup melted butter
¼ teaspoon almond extract
5 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches
For Pie Crust: Mix flour, shortening and salt together until the consistency of corn meal. Add water and mix together until smooth (by hand). Dough should stick together when combined; if too dry, sprinkle in a little more ice water until dough sticks together and is smooth. Do not overwork dough.
Peach Filling: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Stir sugar, flour, butter and extract into peaches. Divide pastry dough into 2 pieces. Roll out the first piece until it is about ¼-inch thick; slice it into long slices about 1-inch wide. Cover bottom of 9×13 pan with dough slices; bake dough until 2/3 don3 (firm by not yet golden).
Remove dough from oven and pour peach filling over partially baked crust. Roll out the remaining dough and either cover the peach filling with one sheet of dough or lattice the dough. If you cover the peach filling with one piece, make sure to poke some holes in the dough to vent the steam. Bake until the crust is light brown on top, about 1 hour. Makes 8-12 servings.