Thursday, July 7, 2011

Peach Crumb Bars

Ah, the morning sun on a tray of peach crumb bars. This picture just proves that the light in my kitchen is always weird. I made these last night, so all the other pictures are rather dark. Que sera sera.

Today was the last day of my French class, so we decided to have a party while we went over the final exam. I had ambitious thoughts about making something awesomely French, like a tart tatin, but realized that would involve bringing plates and forks and a sharp knife, and also should be served the day it's baked, which wasn't going to happen. So I made these awesome peach crumb bars instead. These also recommended serving the day they were baked, but I baked at night for a morning function and they still turned out fine.

These bars have the right combination of sweetness and tartness (brought out by the lemon juice). And since they're fruity, they were a great choice for a morning function. And I love crumbs on anything. Who doesn't?

This recipe also gave me an excuse to go to the farmers market and get a big basket of delicious peaches.

I love them. They look so pretty. It's a shame that the fresh, beautiful ones also tend to ripen and then rot in a 36 hour period. Jeff and I have a lot of leftover peaches to eat today . . . unless I make another batch of these bars and freeze them! Maybe I'll even add some raspberries next time . . .

I've never baked with peaches before. They need to be blanched so you can get the skins off more easily. Fortunately, having made many batches of tomato sauce, I was already familiar with that process (described below). It is not quite so easy with peaches as it is with tomatoes, or perhaps a few of my peaches were not yet at the appropriate stage of ripeness to be cooperative. Rather than pull the skin off with my fingers, I had to resort to actually shaving it off with a paring knife (like peeling an apple) with a few of them. Still, in the end there was plenty of peachy goodness to go around.

There still is, actually, since I came home with leftovers. I might need to go downstairs soon and . . . put them away. Yeah.

Peach Crumb Bars
From Annie's Eats.

1 1/2 c sugar, divided
1 tsp baking powder
3 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
zest from 1/2 lemon
1 lb cold butter, cut into small chunks
1 egg
5 c peaches (5-6, depending on their size)
5 tsp cornstarch
juice from 1 lemon
pinch of ground nutmeg

Set a pot of water (large enough to hold your peaches) to boil. With a paring knife, cut a shallow "X" into the bottom of each peach. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. When the water is boiling, add the peaches for 40 seconds to a minute. Remove and place in the ice bath. (This should loosen the skins so they can be removed easily.)

Remove the skins from the peaches (pull with your fingers, although my tougher ones needed to be peeled with a knife). Halve the peaches and remove the pits (I found this very difficult to do once the skins were off, but I think they'd be even more difficult to skin if that were done first). Finally, dice the peaches.

Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a 9x13" baking pan.

In a food processor, combine 1 c sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and lemon zest. Pulse to mix. Add chunks of butter and egg and pulse until a crumbly dough forms.

Spread half the dough mixture into the prepared pan and press down firmly to form the crust.

In another bowl, combine 1/2 c sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and nutmeg. Whisk well. Gently fold in peaches. Using a slotted spoon (to drain any excess liquid, which could make the crust soggy), spread peach mixture evenly over the crust.

Crumble the remaining dough over the peaches.

Bake for 45 minutes, until slightly golden on top. Cool completely before cutting and serving.

1 comment:

  1. Charlie bro-in-lawJuly 8, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    freeze them and send them to Massanutten!