Wednesday, August 12, 2009

La Fête de Julia, Part Trois

No celebration of Julia's perfection would have been complete without dessert, so voila: Peach Crumble.
Since peaches are in season, I wanted to make some sort of warm-bubbly-peach dessert to serve over vanilla ice cream. Given that I don't yet (please, Santa, please!) have a food processor, I thought pie crust or pastry dough would be tough. Though, even if I had one, I probably would still have gone the crumble route.

Let me tell you why:
1.) The crunch
2.) You get to heat butter, flour, sugar, brown sugar, oatmeal, almonds in the oven until they are golden and (did I mention this?) crunchy.
3.) Did I mention you get to have the mixture mentioned in 2.) with warm peaches and slowly melting ice cream.
4) Super easy to make. You almost always have these ingredients on hand. And no worries about whether the finicky pie crust or pastry will come out right.
5.) You can vary the amount of crumble easily, so you can adjust this recipe to fit an individual ramekin or a 13x9 dish for a crowd
6.) And, oh yes... THE CRUNCH

This particular crumble came out great. I made it in a 10 1/2 inch oval gratin. The peach filling was infused with lemon zest and lemon juice, giving it a wonderfully light feel. The topping was crumbly, crunchy, and oozing with peachy goodness (and, yes, I may have added more crumble about five minutes into baking it because how could you ever go wrong with more crumble?). I served it with Haagen-Dazs 'Five' Vanilla Bean. (Emmanuelle, you may be happy to hear that this new product isn't as hard as regular Haagen-Dazs ice cream).

And it was so easy to make.
For the filling:
The lemons: grate and juice a lemon or two.

The peaches: in order to get the skins off, just boil the peaches for a minute or so and the skins will then peel off easily.

Mix the peaches with lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and flour. Let that yum up for five minutes.

Meanwhile, for the crumble topping: mix together flour, sugar, brown sugar, and salt. Pulse or cut in butter. Stir in nuts and oats. Work with your hands until it coheres into large crumbles.

Spoon into baking dish and cover (smother?) with crumble.

Bake for 40 minutes, until it is bubbling deliciousness.

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Peach Crumble* Recipe
I cobbled together this recipe from two Ina Garten recipes: Plum-Raspberry Crumble in Barefoot in Paris and Peach-Blueberry Crumble in Barefoot Contessa at Home. I made half this recipe and used a 10 ½ inch oval gratin.

*Crumbles are also called crisps. Although lots of crisp toppings don't call for oats, which just seems tragic.

For the filling:
2 lbs firm, ripe peaches (6-8)
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulate sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
(Ina adds 1 cup (1/2 pint) blueberries)

For the crumble top:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar packed
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds, plus extra for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Immerse peaches in boiling water for 30 second to 1 minute, until skins peel off easily.Place them immediately in cold water. Peel the peaches, slice them into thick wedges, and place them in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and flour. Toss well. (Gently mix in the blueberries). Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. Spoon the mixture into baking dish.

For the topping, place 1 cup of flour, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to combine (or just mix together in a bowl if you are using alternative #1 or #2 below). Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of peas (alternative #1: mix with a hand mixer, alternative #2: cut butter in with a fork or pastry blender). Pour the mixture into a bowl, add the oats, and work it with your hands until it is in large crumbles. Add 1/2 cup of the almonds and mix well.

Spread the topping evenly over the fruit, making sure the fruit is well-covered. Sprinkle with some extra almonds. Bake for 40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes: next time, I might add a pinch of spice (cinnamon, nutmeg?) to the crumble. And, I think it is always better to error on the side of more peaches than less.

Well, c'est tout pour La Fête de Julia 2009. But let's not despair, plans are already underway for La Fête de Julia 2010. Emmanuelle, I hear you are in negotaitions to be co-hostess.

Until then, here's to Julia, the inspiration she brings, and delicious meals to come! Sante!

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