Saturday, October 17, 2015

Crispy Peach Crisp

After making a recipe for peach cobbler that turned out just awful -- soggy topping, overcooked, jammy filling -- and learning that my nephew had experienced the same problem, I set out on a quest to make a crispy peach crisp, and to make it with frozen peach slices, since those are available year round. What I've come up with is the recipe below. There seem to be a few key elements to making it crisp.
1) Macerate the peaches first by putting some sugar on them and letting that draw out some of the juice. You add some, but not all, of the juice back in later.
2) Bake the topping separately. In fact, you can bake a batch of topping and store it for a couple of days, probably longer. Which leads to
3) Put the topping on after you cook the peaches, and only on the portions you are using, so it doesn't sit around getting soggy.
I also wanted to make this less sweet than is often the case. If you like really sweet desserts, add more sugar to the filling. But try it this way first -- it tastes more like real peaches and less like peach preserves!
Cooking time is based on using 4-inch ramekins. It might actually be less if you spread the peaches in a thinner layer in a bigger pan, so if you do that, keep an eye on them.

For two 4-inch ramekins, which is two generous servings, I used a 1-pound package of frozen peaches.
The night before (if not using frozen peaches, you could macerate them an hour or so before):
Put the frozen peaches in a bowl with 1 or 2 Tablespoons of sugar, cover and store overnight in the fridge, to thaw and macerate.

Topping (this can also be made ahead):
If you have a silicone baking sheet liner or parchment paper, use that with a sheet pan or cookie sheet; if you don't have one, butter the baking pan.
1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup, packed, dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 Tablespoons butter, cut in pieces
Mix the dry ingredients together and then use your clean fingers to squish in the butter. You actually want there to be some bigger lumps, like the size of a blueberry, and smaller grains.
Spread in one layer on the prepared pan. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, stirring about halfway through. Let cool. Break up any large pieces. If not using immediately, store in airtight container.

Peach filling:
Pour the peach juice that has accumulated into another container.
To 1/4 cup of that juice, add 2 T sugar, 3 tsp. lemon juice (fresh), 1/4 tsp ginger (fresh), 1/8 tsp cinnamon, 1 T cornstarch and mix well. (If you like your desserts sweeter, add more sugar.)
Gently stir this concoction into the peaches. Divide between two ramekins.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. If not using the ramekins, watch for the filling to be hot and bubbly and getting thick. 
Remove from oven and and topping.
(You could be really decadent and add ice cream or whipped cream.)


About Me

My photo
This is me enjoying a limoncello in Rome on the last night of our trip to Italy. Funny thing is, I don't really like limoncello that much, but thought it would be great in a dessert. And wouldn't you know, The Barefoot Contessa just did a great fruit salad with limoncello. So now I can't. Oh, well.