Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just Peachy

Note: this post is from a few weeks ago and is photo-less...I wouldn't normally point this out but some circumstantial events have prevented me from posting for a few weeks and I just wanted you all to know that I realize the arrival of peach season isn't exactly "new" news.

So. It's peach season. Finally. Last summer was my first living in Toronto with easy access to the St. Lawrence Market. For some reason, I didn't realize it was peach season (or that I liked peaches? I'm not really sure what happened here) until it was practically over. So I spent the last couple weeks of August buying baskets of those gorgeous, juicy peaches and baking a couple of cobblers here and there, but mostly just using them obsessively for smoothies. I really didn't get the chance to use the glorious little suckers in the way that they deserved. And I've been waiting patiently for peaches to arrive in Ontario since the beginning of summer.

Well, last weekend I finally went to the market and saw baskets of peaches for sale. YES! They were still a few days from being fully ripe so I left them in the paper bag and planned out my first baking experiment.

The obvious choice was pie, and I'd seen a few fantastic looking recipes on the net in the last couple of weeks. But I was alone at the apartment for a few days, so I thought I would bake something that would be a little easier to take into work the next day for my co-workers to enjoy. I'd been re-reading some of the Anne of Green Gables series lately (I know, I'm a huge dork) and those PEI folk sure talk a lot about plum cake. I've never HAD plum cake before, but it seemed tasty enough and something that couuld be easily substituted with peaches, so that seemed like a good way to go.

The recipe I used is a plum cake recipe from Patent and the Pantry, which got the recipe from Dinner with Julie. I love butter, and browned butter always seems SO good but I've never actually tried or used it in a recipe before. Perfect! Plus, the pictures were so pretty and basically made me start drooling.

I tried really hard not to adapt this recipe too much - pretty much all I changed was the fruit (obviously) and added vanilla, because vanilla is SO good with everything. And I left out the nutmeg because I didn't have any.

Anyway...the only real problem I had here was that it was more of a cobbler-cake, as I used probably too many peaches. But that wasn't really a problem unless you're concerned about making a bit of a mess while you eat it. And it shouldn't be, because this was GOOD. Not too sweet, but delicious from all the fresh fruit and a bit nutty from the browned butter. I'm sad that I don't have photo documentation but if you go to the source blogs their photos are much prettier than mine anyway. But if you have some extra peaches lying around, try this recipe. Please!

Brown Butter Peach Cake

adapted from various sources, noted above

6 peaches
1/2 lemon
3/4 cups + 3 tbsp sugar, divided
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit - butter a pie plate or cake pan

1. Peel peaches - bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add peaches. Let sit for 45 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon and immediately immerse in a water bath. The skins should just slip right off - it's like magic! I know this is probably a pretty basic concept but I've never peel peaches like this before so I was pretty amazed.

2. Cut peaches into large slices and toss with a squeeze of lemon juice, 2 tbsp sugar and cinnamon. You can do this directly in the cake pan/pie plate. Set aside.

3. Brown butter - in a small saucepan (make sure it's doesn't have a black bottom so that you can tell when the butter is brown!) melt butter and cook for about 5 minutes until it's a golden brown colour. Immedidately take the pan off hte stove and if you can, dip the bottom in a bowl of water (I just used the same bowl I had the peaches in, to save a bowl). I don't think you NEED to do this step but apparently the butter keeps cooking a bit after you take it off the heat, so be careful if you don't. I actually have a feeling that I didn't let my butter brown enough, but again this was a first try at this so I was super paranoid about burning it.

4. Pour butter into a medium sized bowl. Add 3/4 cup of sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour and stir to combine. Pour over fruit and sprinkle with remaining sugar (I didn't use a whole tablespoon here...probably more like a teaspoon).

5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until top is golden brown and juices are bubbling up the sides.


  1. Oh my!! Two of my favourite things in one dish: peaches and browned butter!! This sounds fantastic.

    And good news, peach season is still in full swing. We just got a basket of stunningly ripe peaches - they're not the best peaches we've ever had because it's been such a rotten summer for fruit growing (great summer otherwise). But they're certainly fine for making peach cake/pie/crumble


  2. I know - I just a peach creme fraiche pie yesterday with more of the great, fresh peaches that are available right now! Love it :)