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Monday, October 5, 2015

Nutty Peaches

This dessert is much like a fruit crisp but faster. It also is quite flexible; you can substitute according to what you've got in your kitchen.


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Nutty Peaches


Adapted from Seasonal Fruit Desserts from Orchard, Farm, and Market by Deborah Madison
Serves 4

3/4 c toasted nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, or almonds are good; going to try pecans
5 T brown sugar
1/8 teas salt
1 1/2 T nut oil, walnut or hazelnut
1 1/2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 freestone peaches, ripe but still firm
Frangelico, sweet wine, or water

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a baking dish that will hold 8 peach halves. (Deborah Madison notes that this is a dish that can easily be cooked in a toaster oven but for about half the time, or less. I've used a toaster oven when I've halved the recipe.)

In a food processor, grind the nuts until quite finely ground but not turning into a nut butter. It is alright to have some small pieces. Add the oil and butter and pulse until the mixture is moist and somewhat sticky.

Rinse and dry the peaches, or wipe them with a damp cloth. Slice them in half along their seams. Twist the halves apart and take out the pits. If you like, you may enlarge the cavity a bit with a teaspoon, but I have never felt I needed to do so. Leave the skin on the peaches since this helps them hold their shape.

Using a tablespoon from your flatware, scoop some of the nut mixture and press it into the peach cavity. Place them in the baking dish and pour a little Frangelico or wine or a bit of water into the dish. The peaches will release juices as they bake and it will mix with the liquid of your choice and with the butter, making their own sauce. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set to cool for about 5 minutes and serve.

If you use only some of the nut topping for this quick dessert, it lasts for a long time in the fridge, or it can be frozen.

Notes:

I've made this successfully with all butter rather than a mixture of nut oil and butter.

If you want more flavor but want to avoid the alcoholic beverages, stir in a half teaspoon of almond extract into the nut mixture.

Madison writes of using this recipe with apricots as well. Maybe it would work with other fruits, too.

A serving option is to partially whip some cream until it is fluffy (but not holding anything like a peak), flavoring it with a little vanilla and almond extract. Put a couple tablespoonfuls of the cream in the center of a plate; place the peaches in the cream and serve.

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