Monday, September 02, 2013

The Bojon Gourmet: Maple, Bourbon, and Brown Butter Peach Crisp

I looked up today and realized that it's September.  And I have yet to do anything with peaches.  They have such a short season, and I wasted most of it making chocolate cakes.  Shame!  Well, luckily here in Texas our growing season is a bit extended, and I can still find beautiful ripe peaches.  From California.

I wasn't into the whole peach pie thing, and I think macerating peaches into a jam just seems like a shame, so I figured this crisp that walks the border between summer and fall seemed like the perfect choice.  And of course I couldn't pick anything easy.  Who wants easy when you can have browned butter, bourbon, and maple syrup?

Maple, Bourbon, and Brown Butter Peach Crisp
Adapted from The Bojon Gourmet blog

Maple Sugar and Brown Butter Crumble Topping:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup quick oats
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon fine sea or kosher salt
 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Flaky salt and coarse sugar for sprinkling

Bourbon Peach Filling:
2 pounds ripe but firm peaches (6 to 8 peaches, 6 cups sliced)
¼ cup bourbon whiskey
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped

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.  Remove the pod and discard.

Prepare the filling:

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375ºF. Have a 10-inch oven-proof skillet 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 syrup and vanilla pod and scrapings, rubbing the seeds into the sugar to distribute them evenly. Remove and discard the pod. Stir the cornstarch into the syrup, then add to the bourbon-laced peaches, tossing gently to coat. Distribute the peaches evenly in the baking vessel.

Make the topping:

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown 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.

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