Monday, September 16, 2013
The Last Hurrah: Baked Peaches with Almond Crust
It has been a ritual of sorts. Every Sunday, for the past several weeks, I head to the farmers market. There is a fruit truck there, you see. And it beholds soft, fuzzy peaches from British Columbia. I place about 8 or so in a bag - and they are all for me. The kind-looking woman at the checkout knows. You like the peaches, she says. I nod. And she nods too. Yes. They are good. And when they get home, they won't last the week. I typically let them ripen on the counter until they smell just about right, and their flesh gives a little. Then I bite into one and let the juices dribble down my chin, arms. Sometimes this happens while I'm hovering over the sink (and I promise, I never eat over the sink, but I can't help myself) or it happens while sitting under my favourite tree in the backyard. It's a ritual of sorts that is slowly coming to an end, because as goes summer, as go the peaches. These last days of summer are numbered; the crisp mornings and faint cry of the geese overhead tell me so. Just like a reluctant lover, no matter how hard you hold on, goodbye must be said. Oh, but it was fun while it lasted.
When I'm not eating these beauties raw, or tossed with my morning yogurt and granola, I'm roasting them. With a golden, crunchy almond crust, the fruit is brought to new levels of deliciousness. Nigel Slater gave me the idea, from his beautiful book Ripe. Seriously. If you love to cook, or look at cookbooks, get this one for your shelf.
Four ripe peaches are cut in half. Place on a shallow tray. In a small bowl, combine ground almonds, coconut sugar, a small amount of ground ginger, pinch of salt and a few tablespoons of butter.
Spoon this over the cut peaches, and roast until the crust is golden and the fruit is quite soft when poked a little. Let them rest a bit before serving. They are immaculate on their own....
...but a drizzle of cream would not be a bad idea. In fact, it would be the best one you came up with all day. If there should be leftovers - they warm up nicely. I even did so, alongside a bowl of oatmeal and it was fantastic breakfast. Just don't forget the cream.
If you close your eyes, one bite of these peaches and you can still taste summer - its last hurrah - if you will. I hope it was all you wanted it to be. And more.
Baked Peaches with Almond Crust
4 ripe peaches, lightly rinsed and dried
1/3 cup almonds, ground to a coarse texture
1/4 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
pinch sea salt
3 tbsp butter
Cut the peaches in half and place on shallow baking tray. Combine filling ingredients in small bowl. Divide among the peaches. Bake in a preheated 350*F oven for about 35-40 minutes, until topping is golden brown and fruit is soft. Serve warm, with cream. Makes 4 servings. Recipe adapted from Nigel Slater's immaculate book, Ripe.