Speak now or forever hold your peach

SORRY! For the long delay. I was in Africa all summer. I was on the moon… with Steve!  No really, I was in Africa doing research for my masters thesis.  It was a wonderful adventure and research experience. And they actually do have peaches there, at certain times of the year. And mangoes and pineapples and bananas that will change your life. But I think the good old US of A takes the peach crown. So let’s forget about those clementines from May, they are out of season anyway. It is time to seize the peach!

I have been getting delicious peaches from my local farmers market.  Tart and sweet and perfumey. To be honest, with most of them I have been slicing them in half and just eating them, or dicing them into thick Greek-style yogurt. But cobblers/buckles/crumbles are the perfect stage for stone fruit like we have right now. The simpler the better to let the fruit really shine.  But some sugar, flour, and butter certainly aren’t going to hurt anything.

I served this Peach Buckle at a dinner with some friends earlier this week. One berated me the next morning for making her go to the gym, and the other asked me whether the damage would be irreparable if he just ate the whole thing. I just ate a slice for breakfast smothered with plain yogurt as you see above… god bless american peaches.

PS: Is it a coincidence that Frank is back in our apartment this week?  I don’t think so.  I think he is the guardian snortling football-shaped dog of this blog.

Peach Buckle

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Serves 8 to 10

Cake
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice, cardamom, or cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
Zest of 1 lemon
4 medium peaches, barely ripe (about 4 cups), halved, cored, and cut into ½-inch wedges

Topping
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup turbinado or brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Generous pinch of salt

Prepare the cake: Begin by melting the butter for both the cake and the topping—this is 3/4 cup total—in the microwave or a small saucepan on medium-low heat. Set aside to cool.

As an optional step, you can remove the 1/2 cup needed for the cake, and then brown the remaining 1/4 cup for the topping (this needs to be done in a saucepan on the stove).  If you choose to do this, keep a close eye on the butter so it doesn’t burn, and remove it from the heat and from the pan immediately when the milk solids (the little white bits) have turned a golden brown color and the butter has begun to smell somewhat nutty.  I usually pour it into a glass measuring cup to stop it from browning further.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of a 10-inch round cake pan or cast iron skillet with parchment paper.  Grease the bottom and sides of the pan with butter, being sure to grease both sides of the parchment.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and spice into a medium bowl.  In a large bowl, add the sugar and 1/2 cup of the cooled melted butter and whisk briskly.  Add the eggs one at a time and then the buttermilk, continuing to whisk after each addition until the mixture is well-combined.  Add the lemon zest and whisk a few times to distribute it.  Finally, add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in 2-3 batches and mix until just combined.  Pour the cake batter into your prepared pan.  Add the sliced peaches on top in a single radiating layer.

Prepare the topping: combine the remaining 1/4 cup of cooled melted butter, both sugars, flour, cinnamon, and salt and stir with a fork until combined and the mixture forms small pea-sized crumbs.  Sprinkle on top of the cake.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes until the cake is firm and top is golden brown.  Begin to check for doneness at 40 minutes.  Total baking time will depend on your oven and your pan.  It will be difficult to tell whether a tester is coming out wet because of the peach topping, but keep checking and feeling for resistance when you plunge a toothpick or knife into the cake near the center.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, and then turn out onto a cooling rack.  Or do as I did and keep the cake in the cast iron skillet because it looks delicious and rustic there, and then forget that there is parchment on the bottom when you serve it to your guests.

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2 thoughts on “Speak now or forever hold your peach

  1. Sally Powers

    A note from Ch’ville – if simple is best, I have a recipe that can’t be beat as it contains just eight ingredients. Call your mother and I’ll share it with her.

    Reply
  2. Mary Mom

    looks gorgeous. I’ve been hoarding peaches ever since Reid’s said they got the last of their local shipments last week. bought some in Winchester, some at Eternal Yogurt, etc. I’ll get that recipe from Sally. and luscious photos, too. and i love your title.

    Reply

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