Peach Shortcake is one of those wonderful late summer treats, cool, juicy slices of peach sort of drooling their sticky, sweet juices all over a great crunchy/soft short biscuit. Simple. Seasonal. Delicious. Of course, at the moment it is February and raining, but if I don’t get some sort of break from this winter, I’ll go insane. I can’t make the sun come out, but I can make a great summer dessert, even in the winter, even with franken-peaches from an entirely different continent.
Peaches don’t grow here in February. They do, however, grow in Chile. How they get here is kind of fascinating, and kind of scary. Fruit is alive, it’s flesh made up of living cells. If they die, they rot. If you are shipping fruit a long way, or storing it for a long time, you want the cells to stay alive, but to be in hibernation, so that natural cellular processes, like ripening, enzymatic breakdown of starch, etc, slow dramatically. So, reduce temperature, reduce oxygen, and the cells slow down. But don’t remove oxygen all together, or reduce the temperature too much, or the cells will die.