Monday, August 25, 2014

Baking Break!

We had Brett's cousin staying with us this weekend, so we made sure to focus on some fun activities that don't involve a sledgehammer. (Yes, there are things I enjoy besides smashing stuff.) For the purposes of this blog, I'll focus on what we did in the house: baking! We went to an awesome local-food potluck in the neighborhood. I wanted to make use of our amazing in-season Washington peaches, so I made one of the oddest, most magical recipes I know.

This is Peach Puzzle.

Whole peaches in a sweet biscuit crust with peachy butterscotch sauce. You're welcome.

What's so magical about that, you ask? The sauce ... drumroll, please ... makes itself.

That ramekin was empty when I put the dish in the oven.

However do I do it, you ask? Well, since you asked so nicely, I'll tell you the secret:
It bakes upside-down.

The crust sits on top, and the ramekin is upside-down in a pie plate. As the whole dish heats and then cools, a vaccum forms. It sucks the butterscotch sauce and peach juices that were loose in the dish up into the ramekin, so that when you flip it all over - voila! - the previously empty little cup is full of amazing yumminess.

Now that's what I call a "Before" picture.

Take that, Harry Potter.

Here's the recipe, with my additions and notes, adapted from America's Best Lost Recipes: 121 Heirloom Recipes Too Good to Forget.

Peaches and Syrup:
7 medium fresh peaches
3/4c packed light brown sugar
6 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt (I don't measure, I just use a pinch)

Prepare the peaches: Blanch the peaches to remove the skins. (Boil a medium pot of water. Fill a similar size bowl with ice water. Slit a small cross into the skin of the peaches. Put the peaches in the boiling water for a minute or so, then transfer them to the ice water. Do this in batches if you need to. The skins will slip right off.)

Turn a ramekin upside-down in the center of a pie plate. Arrange the peaches in a circle around it.

Make the syrup: In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, water, butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is combined, approx. 5 minutes. Pour over the peaches.

1 1/4 c flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp (yes, that's a tablespoon) baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled
6 Tbsp milk

Make the crust: Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the food processor; pulse until combined. Toss in the butter and pulse until the mixture is like coarse sand or cornmeal. Add the milk. It won't seem like enough moisture to hold the dough together, but if you press the dough together against the sides of a bowl, it will pull together.

Assemble the pie: Roll the crust out to a 9" circle and drape it over the top of the peaches. Do NOT let it adhere to the pie plate itself - just fold it over the peaches.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Let it cool for 30 minutes of a cooling rack.

Invert and serve! 

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