Top dishes named at Peach Cook-Off

Published 4:22 pm Monday, June 22, 2015

 Attendees at the 2015 Peach Festival Cook-Off sample Spicy Peach Hot Wings prepared by Chef Bill Akins. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall)

Attendees at the 2015 Peach Festival Cook-Off sample Spicy Peach Hot Wings prepared by Chef Bill Akins. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall)

Chilton County peaches made Abby Calhoun’s “No-Bake Peach Tart” come together for the 2015 Peach Festival Cook-Off.

“It was the peaches that made the recipe,” Calhoun, 12, said.

Calhoun took home the first-place prize in the Youth Division for ages 9-18 at the Cook-Off on Saturday.

The event was held this year at Senior Connection in Clanton.

There were 17 entries this year with 10 participants in the Youth Division and seven participants in the Adult Division (ages 19 and above), which required dishes to be prepared using fresh Chilton County peaches.

While a group of judges sampled the entries and made their decisions about the winners, participants watched Chef Bill Akins prepare Spicy Peach Hot Wings.

Akins has previous experience in the culinary field including time at the White House, in the military and at Gulf Coast restaurants.

After the demonstration, winners of the Cook-Off were announced as listed below:

Youth Division

•First place: Abby Calhoun, No-Bake Peach Tart

•Second place: Alli Kate Calhoun, Peach Keen Bars

•Third place: McKenzie Mitchell with Daddy’s Peach Chops

Senior Division

•First place: Elizabeth Hawley, Caramel Peach Cheesecake Ice Cream

•Second place: Brandy Hubbard with Caramel Peach Chess Squares

•Third place: Dorothy Cates with Peaches and Cream Cake

Abby Calhoun said she found her recipe online, and it was fairly easy to put together.

“I really enjoyed making it,” Calhoun said. “I love to get in the kitchen and experiment with different recipes and stuff.”

“I think peaches are easy to cook with, but you do have to make sure you keep them from browning when are you cooking them,” Calhoun said.

Hawley, the Adult Division winner, is no stranger to the Cook-Off after also taking home the first-place prize in 2014.

Hawley said she got inspiration for her recipe after seeing a white peach, and wanting to create something different than what she cooked last year.

“I knew I had done a cake, and the previous year I won third place for a pie,” Hawley said. “I hadn’t really seen anyone do an ice cream so I thought that would be something neat to put together.”

One of the requirements for submissions to the Cook-Off is the requirement that any recipe using raw eggs will be disqualified, but if a recipe calls for raw eggs, cooked custard can be made, or pasteurized egg products may be substituted.

Hawley said she had never made a custard-based ice cream, but liked how the custard was thicker, creamier and more solidified than typical homemade ice cream recipes.

“I was very pleased to hear that I won,” Hawley said.

First place winners received $50 prizes, while second place winners received $35 and third place received $25.

After the winners were announced, attendees at the event were given the option to sample the dishes from the Cook-Off.

The event is sponsored by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System/Chilton County Office, Chilton County Farmers Federation Women’s Committee and The Clanton Lion’s Club.