My friend Anna is coming to visit me, and although I am totes excited to hang out with her (I’ve known her since high school, so I think it only appropriate to use tweeny expressions like “totes” when talking about her), I am already stressing about the selection of sweet treats and baked goods I hope to make for her. You see, Anna is an amazing cook in that totally natural, easy, everything-she-makes-is-delicious kind of way. So when I make sweets for her, I feel kind of a lot of pressure to make sure they’re really special.
To complicate matters, Anna doesn’t really love sweet. She’s not the friend I’m making coconut layer cake for, or salty caramel filled cup cakes. She’d be much happier to finish a meal with a perfect peach or a crispy (small) piece of almond biscotti. But, and maybe you’ve already gathered this if you’ve read a post or two of mine, I am not the dessert-can-be-a-piece-of-fruit-or-one-crispy-dry-cookie kind of gal. On the contrary, to put it lightly. So I have a bit of a dilemma: I want Anna to happily consume all my end of meal treats and morning baked goods, but I want to be happy while consuming them, too! So here’s what I’m thinking: I’ll make her my red currant ice cream for dessert post-lunch (it’s tart and not too sweet), and my currant buckle (again, sweet, but not too much so —recipe coming next week . . .) for Sunday breakfast, and — you guessed it — for dessert post-dinner, I will make her peach crumble.
Lightly sweetened peaches with a crispy topping is almost like eating a perfect peach alongside a crispy cookie, which, of course, makes me think it might be the perfect Anna dessert (that also works for Jessie). The recipe is a complete no brainer (which also works for Jessie): chopped peaches, with the skin on, are tossed with brown sugar and cinnamon, almond extract and a bit of peach jam (depending on the sweetness of your peaches), and covered in a (lot of) buttery crumble that crisps up exquisitely in the oven. My topping is generous and has no oats, as I am partial to copious amounts of oat-less crumble (although truth be told, Anna would probably have liked some oats thrown in for good measure) and an uber-peachy-tasting fruity filling. Of course, prior to taking a stab at mine, I looked to Martha Stewart, Food Network, and Taste of Home for oat-less peach crumble tips and guidance, cause I always got to see what else is out there.
You know, I think I am really on to something with this crumble — something that will please purists like Anna, as well as those with exaggerated sweet teeth, like me. But I will have to let you know for sure once I hear what Anna has to say . . . so stay tuned. Or better yet, make it yourself and report back. I would love to hear where you fall on the spectrum of purist to sweet tooth and where you think this dessert might fall on such a spectrum, as well.
For the crumble
- 2 sticks 3 Tbsp, unsalted butter, cold
- 3 cups light brown sugar
- 3 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
For the peaches
- 4 lbs. peaches 12 cups once chopped
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup arrowroot
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- 3/4 cup peach jam less if your peaches are super sweet and peachy
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
To make the crumble
- Cut the butter into small cubes. Set aside.
- Place all of the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and whisk to combine. Add the butter, and using your hands, incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients, until a variety of different sized crumbs form (some big, some not) and there is no more loose flour or sugar. Place the crumble in the refrigerator.
To make the peach filling
- Warm the peach jam in a small saucepan over medium heat until it liquifies. Set aside.
- Using a large spoon/spatula, or you hands, combine the peaches in a large bowl with the brown sugar, arrowroot, salt, and cinnamon. Add the lemon juice, warm peach jam, and almond extract. Stir (or use your hands) to combine.
- Transfer the peaches to a 13x9x2-inch pan and crumble the topping over the peaches, creating large and small crumbs for some variety. You should have a nice thick, uniform coating of crumble.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 60 to 70 minutes, rotating the crumble after 30 minutes, and checking on it after about 55 minutes. The crumble is done when it is nicely browned and the peach filling can be seen bubbling through in spots. If the topping gets too dark before you see active bubbling, cover the pan in tinfoil and continue baking.
- let the pan cool briefly before serving with ice cream.