Thursday, September 19, 2013

RECIPE: Maple Sugar, Bourbon, and Brown Butter Peach Crisp

Difficulty level: Intermediate 
Makes 8 servings 
A great idea for leftover peaches!

Maple Sugar and Brown Butter Crumble Topping:

8 tablespoons (1 stick / 4 ounces) unsalted butter

1/2 of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup quick (a.k.a. baby) oats

1/2 cup maple sugar (or brown sugar)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

flaky salt and coarse sugar for sprinkling

Bourbon Peach Filling:

2 pounds ripe but firm peaches (6-8 peaches / 6 cups sliced)

1/4 cup bourbon whiskey (such as Bulleit)

1/4 cup maple sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped 

Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Brown the butter:

Combine the butter and vanilla pod half and seeds in a small saucepan. Melt the butter over medium heat, and continue to cook until the butter turns golden with dark brown flecks, about 5 minutes, swirling frequently. Toward the end, the butter will foam up dramatically; watch it closely at this point. Let the browned butter cool at room temperature while you prepare the filling. (If the butter is at risk of over-browning, pour it into a heatproof bowl or measuring cup to stop the cooking.) Remove the pod and discard (or wash, dry, and save it for another use).

Prepare the filling:

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375º. Have a 10" oven-proof skillet (or a 10" solid tart or pie pan, or something equivalent) at the ready.

Cut the peaches in half, then cut each half into six to eight slices. Place in a large bowl (or right into the baking vessel) and sprinkle with the bourbon.

In a small bowl, combine the maple sugar and vanilla pod and scrapings, rubbing the seeds into the sugar to distribute them evenly. Remove and discard the pod (or save it for another use). Stir the cornstarch into the sugar, then add to the bourbony peaches, tossing gently to coat. Distribute the peaches evenly in the baking vessel.

Make the topping:

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, maple sugar, nutmeg and salt. Stir in the melted, cooled brown butter, stirring with a spoon or your hands until the mixture forms large clumps.

Scatter the crumble topping over the peaches, taking the time to form some of it into small, hazelnut-sized balls. Scatter a bit of flaky salt over the top, as well as some coarse sugar. 

Bake the crisp until the topping is golden and the fruit is bubbling, 45-60 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, preferably with vanilla ice cream. (Leftovers make a tasty breakfast, cold from the fridge, with yogurt instead of ice cream).
Submitted by Erin Hotchkiss

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