LEWISTON – Dianne Tubridy of Hamburg took home top honors for her “Peach Smash Parfait” in the food enthusiasts category of the Peach Recipe Taste-Off contest during the Niagara County Peach Festival.
“It was a great event and my first time ever doing something like this,” Tubridy said of the Sept. 10 competition. “Everyone was so nice! The idea came to me because when I see peaches, I think bourbon. I thought about the bourbon smash drink and just substituted peaches for lemons.”
In addition to Tubridy, the Peach Recipe Taste-Off winners included Rachael Gifford in the culinary student category for her “Peach Lattice Pie” and Kiria Gonka, 13, in the children’s category for her “Cheesie Peachie Chimichangas.”
Entrants could win up to $500 in prizes for their original, “from scratch” recipes, which had to include fresh peaches.
Tubridy said she had never been to the Peach Festival before, but was looking for something to do when she saw the recipe contest and decided to enter. She also said she’d “definitely” do it again.
“When they announced that I had won, I thought, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ” she recalled.
“I was happy. I was psyched.
“The guys from Kiwanis were super sweet and the other bakers were so adorable,” she said. “They were really endearing.”
Judges for the final taste-off included Lynn Catalano of the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropy; James P. Klyczek, president of Niagara County Community College; Mark Mistriner of the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute; and Brenda Alesii, food author and host of “Brenda’s Bites” on 1520 AM.
The “Taste Off” recipe competition was held on the Academy Park stage as part of the three-day Peach Festival. Organizers expected to dish out more than six tons of local peaches atop DiCamillo Bakery shortcake at the festival. The peaches served were harvested from Bittner-Singer Farms in Appleton.
The festival was sponsored by the Kiwanis of Lewiston.
Since founding the family event 59 years ago, the Kiwanis have contributed more than $1 million in goods and donations to area charities and organizations from event proceeds.
Peach “Smash” Parfait recipe
By Dianne Tubridy
Serving vessel: parfait cup, bowl or Mason jar
8 peaches of choice (*Note: Use fresh, but if not in season and using canned, drain.)
For Smash marinade:
3 tablespoons, local honey
16 sprigs of mint
8 teaspoons of superfine sugar
¼ to ½ cup (to taste) Buffalo Distillery bourbon whiskey
*Note: Let smash marinade sit for a few hours in refrigerator, or overnight, and if you prefer to omit whiskey, use 2 tablespoon of Bragg’s Cider Vinegar.
For parfait assembly:
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon local honey
For pistachio butter:
1 cup shelled pistachios
1 tablespoon heavy cream
½ cup superfine sugar
¼ cup dried culinary lavender (blend in food processor, quick blend 15-30 seconds or place in closed, plastic bag and use a rolling pin to grind)
8 sprigs mint
*Note: Garnish each parfait with 1 teaspoon of lavender sugar
1. Slice peaches in half. Discard pit and marinate peaches with smash. (Sip on leftover marinade while cooking). Grill marinated peaches a few minutes on each side, or saute in pan, or broil in oven, but watch closely so don’t burn. Set aside to cool.
2. Blend mascarpone in bowl with hand-mixer on low speed, or by hand using a rubber spoon, and drizzle in honey, until blended like thick, whipped cream. Set aside.
3. Grind shelled pistachios in food processor and slowly add heavy cream until consistency of peanut butter, with a slightly crunchy texture. Fill pastry bag to pipe the pistachio “butter” and set aside.
4. To assemble: Place ½ of the peach in bottom of serving dish or glass and slice other half and fan out on oven broiler-safe dish. Spread layer of pistachio butter on fanned peaches, sprinkle with lavender sugar, put under broiler for 30 to 60 seconds to carmelize sugar, take from oven. Place mixture on top of peach half in serving dish, add layer of mascarpone mixture, garnish with mint and lavender sugar.