I LOVE peaches! I wait most of the summer for those lovely sweet orbs of peachiness! Usually our local peach season is late July or early August. But this year, the earliest peaches are available now and they are delightful!
I was so surprised when Teresa called me early last week asking if I might like some peaches. At first I was, well, I hate to admit it, but I was suspicious. It isn’t peach season, are you sure these are local? I feel like the benefit of buying produce that is local is that it is great nearly 100 percent of the time. I don’t think I’ve ever had a locally grown peach that had that “mealy” texture, you know, that texture that makes you wonder why you chose THAT peach.
Seems a guy at work had generously shared some local peaches that were outstanding and he was willing to bring us some this weekend. I’m all in for that! A shout-out and many thanks to Joey for going the extra mile (or 5) and bringing them to us. They are phenomenal! So sweet and juicy with a hint of tart. Mmmmmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about them.
Theresa gave me the assignment of deciding what to do with our bounty of peaches. So many choices!
So what to do with fresh peaches (besides eat them plain)? In the summertime, I do like a nice Galette, which is a free-form rustic-style pie or tart, where you use a single crust to hold your fruit, and fold the edges over the top to make a sort of “open-faced” pie. The cover of the July Bon Appetit features a Blueberry Galette, which is what I had intended to make this weekend, until those lovely peaches became available. But with peaches, I feel like a crisp, with its oat and brown sugar topping is the best complement to the fruit. So a crisp it would be! What I did take from that Galette from the cover is the addition of roasted pecans to the crust. Not only do they add a nutty flavor, but some nice crunch. And who wouldn’t love some crunch? So I decided to add them to my crisp.
The result was spectacular! The pecans added both the desired crunch and a touch of saltiness, which was soooooo good with the peaches. I think I will always add roasted nuts to a crisp. Why have I not done this before?
Just one taste and I’m sure you will forever make your crisps nutty, too!
Fresh Peach Crisp
3 lb fresh peaches (5 large or 6-7 average sized)
1/3 c AP flour
1 c rolled oats
3/4 c chopped roasted and salted pecans
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 t salt
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 c), cut into 6-8 slices
1/2 c sugar
3 T cornstarch
1 T lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t ground cardamom
Ice cream or whipped cream, for serving
Butter or spray a 13×9 baking pan.
Mix together the topping. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, pecans, brown sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter, 2 knives or your fingertips, cut in the butter pieces until mixture contains bits of butter the size of peas. Set aside.
Next, prepare the peach mixture. The easiest way to peel a fresh peach is to blanch it in boiling water. To do this, gently place peaches in a pan of boiling water. Once the water returns to a boil, let the peaches boil 1-2 minutes, then remove. Using a sharp knife, make a shallow 1″ cut through the skin. You should be able to easily peel the skin off at is point. Once the skin is off, cut peaches into thin sections.
Place peach sections into a large bowl.
To the peaches, add cornstarch, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and cardamom. Stir with a large spoon. The mixture should become a little bit “soupy”.
Once mixed, pour peach mixture into the baking pan. Evenly sprinkle the topping mixture.
Bake 50 minutes until dark golden brown and crispy.
Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. Enjoy!