DIVINE Peach Crisp

Peach Crisp

Make the most of this season's peaches with this delightful peach crisp. Fresh peaches (or tinned if fresh aren't available) sit under a layer of crisp, buttery oatmeal crisp topping (with my special tip for making the crisp crisp in texture!). Perfectly simple but SO satisfying. This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader!

When you've got peaches, make peach crisp! So what is a crisp? And what is the difference between a crisp vs a crumble vs a cobbler? A crumble is made with flour, sugar and butter while a crisp is made with the addition of rolled oats but the two are used almost interchangeably and I know that I always tend to add oats to my crumble topping. A cobbler is an American biscuit topping that can be shaped into rounds and baked on top of the fruit.

Peach Crisp

My Secret to a Crispy Textured Crisp! As crumble and crisp are used interchangeably, I wanted to make the crisp a bit crispier to give it a distinction from crumble. I remembered back to when I worked making desserts for a Southern USA restaurant and the owner explained the differences between the three and how he managed to get his crisp, well um crisp! It was with a twice-baked topping! If you bake it straight onto the fruit then the juices from the fruit will meld into the topping and will make it softer. If you crisp up just the topping in the oven first before adding it onto the fruit then it gets extra crisp. I also added my own touch to make it super crisp and that was to use half raw sugar for the added crunch and I added lots of almonds too. This ratio of fruit to topping is my perfect ratio (which basically favours the crumble so it's 55% crumble, 45% fruit). If you're a fruit fiend feel free to increase the fruit ratio.

Tinned vs fresh peaches? You can use whatever you have in season. At the moment we have an abundance of fresh peaches in stores so fresh is perfect but tinned is totally fine and really cuts down the preparation time.

How to Skin Peaches: The easiest way to skin a peach is to use ripe-ish ones (not mushy) and cut down the line of a peach. Then poach it in simmering water for 1-2 minutes and then immerse it in an ice bath. Once cold enough to handle, peel off the skin. The skin will come off easily in one or two pieces.

Clingstone vs Freestone Peaches: As the name suggests clingstone peaches are ones where the flesh sticks to the pit. Clingstones are great eating peaches because they tend to be sweet and juicy and you can eat around the pit. Freestone peaches (where the pit easily separates from the fruit) are great for pies, cooking and jamming because they're easy to deal with in larger quantities and you can add sweetness and juiciness to them. Clingstone peaches can be a bit trickier to segment as they get slippery - these ones were clingstones and they had a remarkable amount of juiciness and sweetness to them. Clingstone tend to be the earlier season peaches.

Peach Crisp

Despite all this peach talk, this was actually supposed to be a nectarine crisp. My friend Valentina messaged from her farm where she had a tree full of beautiful organic white nectarines. I could see Mr NQN's eyes widen in excitement as I showed him a picture of the boxes of nectarines she had collected. He eagerly volunteered to go over to collect them from her house which morphed into a dinner invitation for both of us.

That morning Valentina messaged me. She was feeling ill. It was all the symptoms of being COVID. This was topping off a spate of bad luck that she has been having since late December where she had sprained her wrist, become stranded at her farm when their car refused to start and family members that had COVID among other issues.

She knew what it was. It was the 2 ceramic elephants that she had newly acquired. Her husband Pete told her that they are lucky elephants but since then she has only had bad luck. So she sold them for a bargain price. Ever since then she's had good luck and it also turned out it wasn't COVID but just a regular cold.

So tell me Dear Reader, are you superstitious? Do you believe that some objects hold back luck? And have you ever tried a fruit crisp? What is your ideal fruit to topping percentage?

Peach Crisp

Peach Crisp

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

Serves: 8

For crisp topping

  • 3/4 cup/112g/4ozs. plain all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup/55g/2ozs. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup/55g/2ozs. raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch salt
  • 100g/3.5ozs. butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup/45g/1.6ozs rolled oats
  • 100g/3.5ozs. almonds, flaked or slivered

For Peach Layer

  • 800g/1.8lbs peaches (around 7 peaches)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup caster or superfine sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoons plain all purpose flour (you can omit if your peaches aren't very juicy)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peach Crisp
First bake of the crisp topping

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 180C/350F and butter a rectangular dish (26x18x6cm) and line a baking tray with parchment. Mix the flour, two sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Rub the butter into this mixture with your hands or use a food processor and mix in the oats and nuts. Scrunch up the mixture like you're making granola clusters and spread out and bake for 15 minutes.

Peach Crisp
Slicing down the seam of the peach

Peach Crisp
Placing them in an ice bath to stop them cooking and to make them easier to handle

Step 2 - Meanwhile skin the peaches and cut into wedges. To skin peaches slice them down the centre along the line and have a bowl of ice water ready. Place peaches into a pot of simmering water for a minute or two. The riper the peach the less time it will need. Place in the ice bath for a minute and then peel the skin off and cut into half a cm or 1/4 inch segments.

Peach Crisp
Peeling off the skin easily

Step 3 - Mix the peach slices with the lemon juice, sugar, flour and vanilla along with the juices. Place in the base of the baking dish. Spoon the crumble on top and then bake for 15 minutes until golden. Then cover with foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Peach Crisp

Peach Crisp

Peach Crisp

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