I did not want peach season to end without me participating, but getting my hands on good fruit is not always easy. Then this week while scoping out sites I ran into a Peach Crumble recipe.
Originally this recipe came from Cooks Illustrated. While I love the end result of Cooks Illustrated recipes, what I don’t like is how they over-handle the food to get to the end result. Their recipes are always deconstructed and then reconstructed. It is not that it is not good; I just don’t have the patience for all that. It just sounds like too much work.
Last week I made Mom’s long lost Sour Cream Crumble Coffee Cake. Thank you Ina. When I started topping the coffee cake I realized this was way too much crumble for me so I froze half of it. I was careful to label it because even with my small freezer things get lost. After something is frozen if left unmarked you will be asking yourself what the heck is that darn thing – so get out the blue tape and the sharpie.
With the crumble already made and in the freezer I had only to work with the fruit. Suddenly it all became more attractive to me. My work was half done.
I am becoming more suspicious of the quality of our fruit. When I was little we had peach trees at our house and my Grandmother’s house. You can’t beat that for freshness and for flavor, but I no longer am that fortunate.
Nowadays peaches, or any fruit for that matter do not have the flavor that I grew up with. I suspect they have been in cold storage long enough for them to have lost their flavor if they ever had any.
So I have been trying to hit the organic markets and make friends with the green grocer. First I ask if he loves his Mother, if he says yes, then I ask him to pick out 2 pounds of the ones he would take to his Mother. I have only had one green grocer say he did not get along with his Mother, so I asked if he likes his wife and he said yes, so I said may I have some that you would take to your wife. So far so good.
My new friend Eric picks out the best avocados and watermelons. Well actually he warned me off of the watermelon until Wednesday when he was getting in the good stuff, so I went back on Wednesday and bought a small delicious watermelon. So next I approached him to pick out the best peaches he had. He gladly cut one open for me to smell and taste and then warned me that the season is almost over.
I would advise you to make friends with the person that handles your fruits and vegetables if you are having a problem finding the good stuff. I would encourage you to buy organic, in season and the best you can afford. I would encourage you to make extra crumble and keep it frozen for just such emergencies as when company is coming, or you just want to be good to the family, and you have fresh fruit. I think this would work with whatever is in season. My one regret was I was not as organized as I strive to be or there would have been a big-o-scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of my peach crumble.
I took embarrassing liberty with this dish by using Ina’s streusel crumble, but Cooks Illustrated’s technique. I downsized to 2 pounds of fruit, and I did not use all the sugar because the fruit is in season and at its peak, but I want to thank all of those involved that make this a remarkable recipe. Thank you Ina for making too much crumble although one of the comments was there is no such thing. Thank you Cooks Illustrated for a great technique. Thank you Eric – the peaches were excellent. Sheesh! it took a lot of people to get this made.
- For the Filling
- 2 lbs. Peaches, peeled, halved, pitted and sliced
- ⅓ Cup Sugar
- 1¼ tsp Cornstarch
- 3 – 5 tsp Lemon Juice
- Pinch Salt
- Pinch Cinnamon
- *Sugar – this will depend on the ripeness/quality of fruit – add half; then more if needed.
- 1 tablespoon of cold butter cubed and distributed on the filling.
- For the Crumble
- I used one half of the Coffee Cake Streusel.
- I left out the nutmeg and added almonds.
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup of almonds
- Mise en place ~ Gather Ingredients
- Prepare baking dish or dishes – Give a generous smear of butter.
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Line a jellyroll pans with parchment or use a silicone mat.
- For the Filling
- Squeeze some fresh lemon into your mixing bowl.
- Peel and slice peaches; toss gently so each slice is coated with lemon to avoid darkening.
- Sprinkle half the sugar over peaches in a large bowl; let macerate for 10 minutes. Taste for sweetness; if needed add in the remaining sugar.
- Stir and macerate for another 20 minutes.
- Drain the peach juice; reserve ¼ cup of the juice.
- Whisk reserved peach juice with cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt; add to peaches.
- Place in individual ramekins or in one 8 x 8 pan.
- For the Crumble or Streusel
- Combine dry ingredients.
- Drizzle Vanilla into mixture.
- Stir in melted butter; place into refrigerator while waiting for the peaches.
- Spread crumble on the parchment-lined jellyroll pan; break into crumble.
- Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes.
- Add in almonds; bake another 5 minutes; watch so almonds don’t burn.
- Dot filling with butter cubes.
- Add baked crumble topping to the peaches; break any larger chunks.
- Place the ramekin or baking dish on the jellyroll pan; bake for about 20 minutes.
- If you are baking one large dish, it may take up to 25 minutes.
- Start checking at 20 minutes. If it is bubbling it’s done. Mine took about 25 minutes.
- Allow to cool for 30 minutes; serve warm – Preferably with some ice cream.
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