I should eat more fruit. I know this. I am trying. We’ve received many a peach in the last few weeks of our CSA box…and peaches happen to fit into that category of fruit that I know I should like…but they just don’t make my top five list. Especially the whole fuzzy skin thing…I have a little trouble with fuzzy fruit. So…what better way to prepare our multitude of peaches than to peel and make a crumble out of them. Even I like fruit when you put crunchy goodness on top and bake it.
Peeling peaches is much like tomatoes…and highly satisfying. With a paring knife, score the bottom of the peach. Drop into boiling water for at least 30 seconds and probably no more than 2 minutes. The time it takes depends entirely on how ripe the fruit is. (for tomatoes…you should never need more than 45 seconds) Pull them out with a slotted spoon and drop them immediately into ice water. Once they’ve cooled, using a paring knife…and being extremely careful…grab the corner of the skin where you scored it and peel.
The skin should come off fairly easily…if not, let it sit in the ice water for a little longer…or dunk it back in the boiling water for another bit of time and then back into the ice water.
Despite not loving eating peaches…I think they’re a beautiful fruit and somewhat unexpected.
I wanted to make this a bit different from the standard fruit crumble, with a little something you can’t quite place…but still it adds just enough mystery to stick out in your memory.
Toss the peaches with sugar, brown sugar, a little cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and flour.
Secret ingredient time…add the lavender.
I also had just enough blackberries to toss those into the mix as well.
For me simpler is better with desserts. Did you know that the word dessert comes from the French verb desservir, which means to clear away. So at the completion of a meal, the plates would be cleared away…and room would be made for small tastes of sweets, and so dessert was born. Fun fact.
I would argue that the topping for any crumble is more almost more important than the fruit itself. Based on my experience, it is difficult to get the right consistency for the topping, it can’t be soggy, or too floury, it shouldn’t be greasy, or too granular, it should have some substance, but combine well with the top layer of fruit. I have finally found the secret. Previously, I has always cut the flour/sugar mixture with butter or shortening. Don’t be fooled, that is wrong…wrong wrong wrong.
I stumbled upon this fabulous blog while researching my topping options and I finally found the solution to my topping issues. Instead of butter, add one egg well beaten and mix it in with your hands. Then once it is sprinkled atop the fruit, melt some butter (you thought I’d leave it out…?) and spoon it over the top of the dish before putting it into the oven at 375° for 30-40 minutes.
For the topping: (courtesy of Orangette)
Scant ¾ cup granulated sugar (about 4 to 4 ½ ounces)
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 egg, beaten well
7 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
It’s just as delicious at room temperature as it is warm and a coop of vanilla bean ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream would be a welcome addition.