Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Perfect (Roasted) Peaches

I grew up eating my mom’s mom’s peach cake. Years ago, in an effort to capture her mother’s recipes (passed down), my mom typed up her own copy of each recipe onto 3x5 notecards using the old word processing tool – the typewriter. Complete with spelling errors and offset keys where you could tell something was misaligned, the notecards together make for a fun journey that I’ve always enjoyed looking through.

So peach ‘caje,’ as mom wrote it. It’s an old German family recipe. A light and yeasty dough is stretched to fit in a glass baking pan and sliced peaches, tossed with a bit of sugar, cinnamon, and perhaps a drizzle of butter, tops it all off. It was the perfect dessert, with ice cream, or even breakfast (with yogurt).

Now gluten-free, the cake doesn’t have the same appeal it once did. But the peaches. I’d forgotten about peach cake until recently, when I was left with two perfectly ripe specimens. Being a banana girl, I wondered, “what to do?”

Peaches don’t pack well, so they’re not great with lunch at school. But on a salad, with peppery arugula? Or baked until tender to top my morning kamut-meal (like oatmeal for us with oat allergies)? Now we’re talking.

One time, and I was hooked. Opening the oven door to check on the fruit, the aroma of the butter, cinnamon, and juicy peaches sent me right back to the peach cake like I’d just had it yesterday. Funny how memory and scent are linked.

I later made these over my birthday weekend. They were devoured along side bacon, eggs, and gluten free English muffins, and again later tossed with greens. They’re perfect with vanilla ice cream, yogurt, or even crème anglaise. I could even see myself putting them on a pizza, with salty prosciutto and a hearty green, perhaps a garnish of soft goat cheese.

How do you like your baked stone fruit?

Baked Peaches

6 peaches, halved and pit removed
¼ cup maple syrup, more if desired
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1-2 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In an 8x8-inch baking pan, combine all ingredients. Place peaches cut side down and bake for 30 minutes, checking to ensure the sugar doesn’t burn (this will vary with your peach). Once the peaches start juicing and breaking down, flip the peaches and continue baking until tender, about 60 minutes total. (If you have particularly unripe peaches, I’ve facilitated the tenderizing process by smushing them, cut side first, a bit).

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