almond-crisped peaches + uk book tour

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Almond-Crisped Peaches
Adapted from Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard

Nigel Slater’s recipe is incredibly simple: almonds, sugar and butter. I came so close to following it exactly, and then couldn’t resist adding 1/4 cup rolled oats, a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of sea salt, because I love all three so much in crisps. Consider it optional; the recipe works with or without them. Without them, the topping is more butter and brittle-like after baking; with them, it is still buttery and brittle-like, but with a little more of a traditional crisp texture and flavor. Both are magical; the peaches are barely sweet and taste fantastic with a dollop of creme fraiche or softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on top. As for fruit, you could use peaches or nectarines with roughly the same cooking time, or try it with plums or apricots, or all soon, apples and pears. Feel free to try other nuts, too, any kind that you enjoy with baked fruit.

Slater recommends bakers sugar, which is sold in the U.S. as superfine sugar. I couldn’t resist going in the opposite direction, using coarse raw sugar (turbinado, often sold as Sugar in the Raw here) instead. Regular granulated sugar works as well. I didn’t try it with brown sugar, and suspect it may be delicious, but will not be certain until one of you report back (hint) how it holds up in the long baking time, hopefully not over-browning.

4 ripe peaches
1/3 cup (55 grams) whole almonds
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
3 tablespoons (45 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed

Optional extras: 1/4 cup (20 grams) rolled oats, 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, pinch of sea salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Halve peaches and remove pits. Place fruit cut side up in baking dish. In a food processor, grind almonds and sugar together until coarsely ground (with a few pebbles left). Add oats and other flavorings, if using, then butter, pulsing the machine until the ingredients are just blended. Spoon the almond mixture into the center of each peach, then press it flat, as if icing the tops of the peaches with it. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (baking time varies with peach size), until the top is brown and crisp and you can easily slice through the fruit with a fork or spoon.

Serve warm or at room temperature, with creme fraiche, lightly sweetened whipped cream or even plain yogurt, cold, for breakfast.

Without a food processor: Use an equivalent weight of almond meal or finely chopped almonds, stir in sugar and any other ingredients, then the same volume of butter, melted. It will be less clumpy, but the oven won’t know the difference.

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