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Nothing beats a tasty home-grown peach, harvested at just the right moment and ripened by the sun. Hard, shop-bought peaches never seem to be as sweet. Peach trees grow very well in the UK, but they suffer from a fungal disease called Peach Leaf Curl. The spores are more prevalent in wet conditions. Trees can be protected by covering them with a waterproof cover. This is easier when trees are trained as espaliers along a sunny wall or fence. The cover can then be pulled down in winter and rolled back up in summer. The ends of the cover must be left open to allow pollinators to reach the flowers. However, hand-pollinating with a paint brush helps to ensure a good crop. Here's a favourite recipe for peaches. At this time of the year, I'm using peaches I've preserved in sugar syrup, but it's equally delicious with fresh or frozen fruit.
Put all ingredients, apart from peaches and milk, in a food processor* and whizz to form breadcrumbs. Add only three tablespoons of the milk and process for 5 seconds to incorporate. Tip out into a bowl. Put two thirds of the mixture back in the food processor with the remaining milk. Mix to form a smooth cake consistency.
Spoon cake mixture into the muffin pan or cake tin and arrange chopped fruit over the top. Add the reserved crumble mixture to the top. Some of the fruit will remain uncovered, which won't matter.
Bake for around 20 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Cut into chunky squares if using cake tin. Dust with icing or granulated sugar to serve.
Can be frozen.
*If you don't have a food processor, you can use a hand whisk or wooden spoon.
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