I found some delicious, locally grown peaches at the market the other day, and they looked so good in their cute little wooden box that I had to buy them. There were about 12 of them in the crate and were still a bit hard when I bought them so I left them on the counter to continue ripening for a couple of days. When they seemed to have softened enough, my wife and I cut into one for a lunchtime dessert and were thrilled with how great they were, so juicy and very sweet.
Of course, the problem with peaches (and most fresh fruit for that matter) is that once they attain their peak of freshness, they begin a quick downhill sprint to the land of rot. If we only had one or two to snarf down in a hurry I wouldn't have worried much, but with a ten or so peaches left, and most of our clan off at various camps this week, I was afraid we'd lose all the lovelies to our ever present summer battalion of fruit flies, before we had a chance to enjoy them.
I thought of making a jam with them, but when I make jams I like to make vast quantities, can the preserves, and be able to enjoy them over the course of the winter or give jars away as gifts. Peach jam sounded fab, but I didn't have enough peaches to get me very far so I settled instead for making a quick crumble, and decided to incorporate some blueberries we had laying about as well, and for a little something different some fresh tarragon from the garden.
I'm a huge fan of crisps, cobblers, crumbles and grunts, and turn to them often as a way to use up loads of abundant and fresh summer fruits. What's the difference between all these various baked fruit desserts?
Well, aren't you good to ask…..let me tell you.
Slumps and Cobblers are both desserts where fruit is topped with biscuits before baked, in a Slump a drop biscuit is used, with a Cobbler a rolled and cut biscuit is used. Traditionally a Crisp, like a Brown Betty uses bread crumbs in its topping, while a Crumble like we're making here, uses rolled oats as part of the topping. A Grunt is similar to a Slump or Cobbler, but instead of individual biscuits placed on top of the fruit, it has an even layer of biscuit dough that tops almost the entire baking dish ( a little space is left at the edges for steam to escape). Finally we have the Buckle, in which a layer of cake batter is studded with berries and then topped with a streusel topping before baking.
All of these options are so easy to make and so incredibly flexible that they are a great dessert to have in your recipe quiver. Try this peach filling with any of the variations above, and check back with us to let us know how it came out. Thanks!
Cheers – Steve
Peach and Blueberry Crumble with Tarragon
by: Steve Dunn
for the filling:
- 9 ripe peaches
- 1 1/2 cups blueberries
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla paste
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh tarragon
- pinch of salt
for the topping:
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons almond flour
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1" cubes and frozen
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons rolled oats
Heat your oven to 400℉ and place a rack in the middle position.
For the filling; wash, dry and pit the peaches. Cut them into medium sized chunks and toss the pieces into a large mixing bowl. Add the blueberries, the sugar, and the tarragon and mix well.
For the topping; place the almond flour, sugar and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to blend. Add the frozen butter and pulse until it has the consistency of a course meal. Pour the mix into a medium sized bowl and stir in the rolled oats. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
To assemble the crumble, mix a little bit of water with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a slurry. Add the slurry to the fruit filling mix and stir to incorporate. Pour the mix into a baking dish, cover with the crumble topping and pop it into the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the fruit mix is bubbling nicely.