Last of the summer peaches
Fall will be here officially in a matter of days and I am hanging on to all the bits of summer I can. Mornings are darkening, there is a crispness in the air and if you are on the central California coast you are relishing our own special time. Cool mornings and delightfully sunny days. Tourists have returned home and the beaches are local havens.
I have this pitiful little peach tree in my yard. Every year it tries valiantly to produce peaches, we thin them out, water and wait and wait. By now most orchards are finishing their harvests, some early varieties appear in June for heaven’s sake! But not our little one, it’s few large globes are still green and the hopes of ripening before the weather turns is pretty much improbable. The green fruit drops and the dogs chase after them like so many tennis balls. Just the wrong tree, in the wrong place planted by someone with a idealistic heart. Lucky for me it is easy enough to satisfy my peach cravings at the local grocery store or farmer’s market. Good grief, they’re selling for .87 cents a pound!
Thus, today’s peachy entry is…. Drunken Peach Crisp with a Triple Ginger Twist... Crisps are an autumnal comfort food and could be a great cocktail title too!
Drunken Peach Crisp with a Triple Ginger Twist
Serves 4-5 (1 cup ramekins)
5 ripe peaches, thinly sliced, skin removed
1 tablespoon finely diced uncrystallized candied ginger
3 tablespoons good brandy
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup sugar
6 each Anna’s Ginger Thins
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup Silver Palate Thick and Rough Oatmeal
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped candied almonds
Remove peach skins, make small slit in top of peaches, place in large bowl and pour boiling water over to scald. Cover and rest 30 minutes, then place in cool water bath to stop cooking. Then easily peel with paring knife. Remove stone and slice peaches. Taste the peaches and adjust the sugar accordingly.
Combine sliced peaches, diced ginger pieces, brandy, and lemon in bowl. Add sugar, spices and let marinate together while you make topping. For full brandy flavor, you can refrigerate a few hours or overnight. That would be the drunken part of this recipe!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, oatmeal. Add crumbled ginger thins (place whole cookies in zip plastic bag and crush with rolling pin.) Combine with sugar. Cut up cold butter in chunks and cut into topping mixture. Continue cutting in butter until well distributed and “pea” sized pieces.
Evenly distribute the peach mixture into individual ramekins, leave room at the top for the crisp mixture. Make sure you get a good bit of the juicy liquid into each dish. Wouldn’t want to leave out any of that drunken goodness!
Spoon crisp mixture into each ramekin, covering peaches completely.
Place ramekins on cooking sheet and bake in oven until bubbly and crisp is browned and caramelized nicely, peaches cooked but not mushy — 30-45 minutes. Your oven might vary.
Top each ramekin with vanilla flavored whipped cream and sprinkle with chopped candied almonds. Or.. of course vanilla ice cream is always terrific.
Substitute 1 tsp brandy extract and 3 tablespoons apple juice.
Adjust your liquids if peaches are not very juicy or you are using frozen peaches.
Uncrystallized candied ginger available at Trader Joe’s (dice with paring knife and periodically rinse knife in warm water to remove the sticky residue.) I also considered freezing the bits to see if dicing/slicing would be easier — next time.
Anna’s Cookies found in many supermarkets. http://www.annasthins.ca
Silver Palate Thick and Rough Oatmeal http://www.worldpantry.com/