JOPLIN, Mo. —
Business is peachy at Murphy Orchard, thanks to its fruit-loaded trees and a bakery located inside.
David and Paula Murphy, the orchard's owners, say their business on Highway 60 in Marionville is known throughout the area for its fresh-picked produce. The fact that they serve up baked dumplings, cobblers, pies and cookies is a bonus.
Betty Edgar is the master in the Murphy Orchard bakery. She baked for her own family for years, then after her kids grew up and moved away, Betty took her baking skills to Murphy Orchard. She can be found there from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
Betty's peach dumplings have crusts that are flaky and buttery, and the peaches are soft without being mushy. Plus, the spices are just right. Betty claims any kind of peach will work for her tasty treats, reinforcing the idea that true talent lies in the baker. Betty knows what she's doing in the kitchen. She makes 150 to 200 peach dumplings per day, and they're nearly always sold out.
Betty's dumplings are $2.75 each, or $14 for a pan of six. Customers also can sit in the cafŽ and eat at the dumplings warm with vanilla ice cream.
While Betty's dumplings are the stars of the show, her cobbler, cookies and breads are also in high demand. Murphy Orchard sells berries and apples as well, so depending on the season, Betty adapts her baked goods. This means blackberry cobbler in the heat of summer and apple dumplings in the fall.
While Betty's recipes are all her own, here are a few that you can try using fresh peaches.
Fresh peach dumplings with hard sauce
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter-flavored shortening
5 tablespoons ice water
6 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and halved
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
2 cups confectioners' sugar
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Cut in the butter-flavored shortening using your hands or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the ice water over the dough and stir until the mixture comes together. Knead the dough briefly, then divide into 6 pieces.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough into a thin circle. Place two peach halves together and wrap in each circle of dough, sealing at the top. Place the dumplings onto an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake dumplings for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. While the dumplings are baking, make the sauce. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, egg, nutmeg, vanilla and salt using an electric mixer on low speed. Gradually mix in the confectioners' sugar. Spoon over warm dumplings.
4 ripe medium peaches
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 to 2 pints frozen vanilla yogurt or ice cream
Toasted sliced almonds (optional)
Cut the peaches in half and remove the pit. Slice each half in half and toss them in a bowl with the vanilla extract, almond extract and brown sugar. Set aside for 15 minutes while you preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Grill skin-side down until skin is slightly charred, about 3 minutes. Turn and grill on the other sides until you get nice grill marks, about 1 minute on each side.
Divide the peaches among 4 bowls and serve with the frozen yogurt and toasted almonds, if desired.