Let’s be honest. August in Florida. There are not many good things to say about August in Florida.
It is well into the 90s, hot, humid and disgusting. It’s been this way since April and will be this way until November.
(Sorry Florida lovers. I promise I’ll say nice things about Florida in January.)
Until then, let’s focus on the positive. A great thing about August in Florida is that Florida is right next door to Georgia…which means PEACHES!!!!
Peach Crisp. Simple. Delicious. And because it has fruit and oatmeal, can be considered part of a properly balanced breakfast!
Start with about 6 nice ripe peaches, flour, white sugar, brown sugar, COLD butter, oatmeal (regular old fashioned oats, not quick or instant), salt, cinnamon and vanilla.
(Note about ripe peaches: if you are lucky enough to live near a farmer’s market or fresh farm stand, you can easily find ripe peaches. Look for peaches that are still firm but have a little “give” when you gently press them with a finger. Otherwise, the grocery store peaches are just fine. However, you might have to let them ripen on the counter for one or two days. The best way to tell if they’re ripe? They should smell peachy!)
To prepare the peaches you will need to remove the fuzzy outer skin. I think the easiest way is to pour boiling water over the peaches. This is called “scalding”. Be careful, “scalding” also works on fingers and hands.
Put the peaches in the sink, boil a pot or tea kettle full of water and pour away. I usually pour 1/2 the water, wait for the steam to clear, turn the peaches over and pour the remainder of the water.
Let the scalded peaches rest in the sink for at least 5 minutes.
This is a good time to pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. (For you newbies here — the oven needs to heat up before you begin cooking. Most have some sort of ding, bell, buzzer, etc. that tells you when the oven is ready.)
After the peaches have rested and cooled a bit, the skin should easily peel away.
Slice the peaches in wedges away from the pit over a large mixing bowl to catch all the delicious juices.
To the sliced peaches, we are going to add 2 Tablespoons of flour to help thicken the peach juice as it cooks.
Also add 1/4 cup of lightly packed brown sugar.
Note: for those of you who don’t do a lot of baking…when you measure brown sugar, you have to lightly press it down into the measuring cup to remove any pockets of air. No need to cram it in there, just press lightly so you can get an accurate measurement.
We also need to add 1/2 teaspoon of REAL vanilla extract. Please, please buy the real stuff. Your peaches (and everything else you cook) thank you.
And add a dash of cinnamon. If you really feel the need to measure, it’s probably about 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon…but come on, just give the jar a nice light shake and you get a dash.
Mix all these ingredients with the peaches. Notice how they are already getting juicy and delicious.
Now would be a good time to talk about a baking dish. I am using a small, rectangular 11x7x1.5 glass Pyrex dish. You could also use something like this soufle dish or even a glass pie dish.
Just be sure that it has high enough sides so that the peaches won’t bubble over in your oven. For fruit dishes, I generally stay away from metal pans…things tend to stick and get a little weird in metal pans…save them for cake.
Take a small pat of butter and lube up your baking dish. Be sure to butter the corners and the sides.
Now pour your delicious juicy peach mixture into your buttered dish.
On to the topping! The key to the topping is to assemble all of your ingredients BEFORE you get your butter out of the refrigerator. The key to good, crumbly topping is COLD butter.
In a mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup oats, 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup flour and a pinch of salt.
Cut your COLD butter, using the little measuring guides along the side of the pack or a good guess, into 3/4 of a stick or 6 Tablespoons. (this doesn’t have to be an exact measurement.) To cut the 3/4 stick butter into cubes, make a slice down the middle.
turn it over and slice it down the middle the other way
then cut across the slices to make little cubes.
Put the butter into the dry oatmeal & sugar ingredients.
Now for the fun part! Using your clean hands, quickly smoosh through the butter and oatmeal mixture with your fingers trying to get the little butter cubes to break down into smaller pieces and the oatmeal, sugar and flour to mix together and stick to the butter.
Isn’t this fun?
You will very quickly have crumbly topping!
Don’t mess around with this process too much. The trick to good crunchy crispy topping is to have little blobs of butter.
Spread the topping over your peaches.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes until the peaches are bubbly and the toping is a lovely, crunchy golden brown.
This might be a good time to mention that now that you have mastered the “Art of the Crisp” you can take this recipe and make many different, delicious variations. Peach & Raspberry, Triple Berry (raspberry, blueberry, blackberry), Peach & Blueberry, Apple…the options are endless. Just taste and adjust your sugar and seasonings. Easy peasy!
Now the hard part. Try to wait for this to cool just enough so you don’t burn your face off. Spoon into dishes and serve with good vanilla ice cream.
THIS makes turning the oven on worthwhile. Even in August in Florida.
Here’s the Recipe!
Recipe from www.idiotskitchen.com
5-6 Ripe, Juicy Peaches
2 Tablespoons Flour
¼ cup lightly packed Brown Sugar
½ teaspoon real Vanilla
Pinch – Cinnamon
¾ stick COLD Butter
½ cup Old Fashioned Oats
¼ cup Brown Sugar
¼ cup Sugar
½ cup Flour
Pinch – Salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Scald the peaches with boiling water to remove the fuzzy outer skin. Slice peaches away from the pit into a mixing bowl.
Add 2 Tablespoons Flour, ¼ cup lightly packed Brown Sugar, ½ teaspoon Vanilla and a Pinch of Cinnamon to the peaches.
Mix to combine and create lovely juices.
Butter the bottom and sides of a glass baking dish. Spoon the peaches into the dish.
To make the topping, combine ½ cup Old Fashioned Oats (not quick or instant), ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup sugar, ½ cup flour and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl.
Cut ¾ of a stick of COLD butter into cubes. Add butter to the dry topping ingredients.
Working quickly, using your fingers, press the butter and oatmeal mixture together. You should still have small clumps of butter within the mixture.
Add the topping to the peaches. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes until the peaches are bubbly and the topping is golden brown.
Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream. Try not to eat the whole pan in one sitting. I dare you!