My friend (and loyal Light Greenie) Darci brought over some beautiful peaches from Greenbluff the other day. Greenbluff, just north of Spokane, is the abundant orchard-land that produces some of the sweetest apples in the world. It's traditional for many Spokane families to go out to Greenbluff several times a year to pick apples, cherries, and pumpkins.
In one of my favorite books, In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan writes about how one of the joys of seasonal and local produce is deciding what to cook. So when I got the peaches I looked at them for awhile, as they sat there all rosy and juicy in the bowl. Although I love, love, love pie (and have an entire blog devoted to it; click here to visit) I'm not really a pastry chef, the way my friend Kelly is. So I settled on another scrumptious dessert: peach crisp.
Someday I'll have to write a post about how I develop recipes, but for today, I'll just say that several recipes came together along with a "secret" ingredient that goes well with all kinds of late summer/fall fruits and veg: garam masala. Garam masala is an Indian spice blend that has many different formulations, but often includes cardamom, cinnamon, clove, cumin, and black pepper. You can make your own, but it's readily available at most large supermarkets as well.
Each Peach Crisp*
Grease a 9" baking dish and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
With a small, very sharp knife, peel and slice
4-6 large ripe peaches
Place them in a bowl. Add:
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Mix the peaches and spices together. Pour them into the prepared baking dish.
In the microwave or on the stovetop, melt:
1/2 c. (1 stick) of unsalted butter
In a bowl, combine:
1/2 c. quick-cooking oats
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. light brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
Pour the melted butter into the oats/spice mixture. Mix together. It should have a chunky consistency. If there is too much liquid, add oats, a tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the right consistency.
Crumble the oats/spice mixture (it will be gloppy, rather than truly crumbly) over the peaches.
Place in the center of the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the peaches are bubbling and the topping is browned.
Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream.
This recipe is delicious with coffee. In fact, we even ate it for breakfast one day.
* named after one of the most memorable books of my childhood: Each Peach Pear Plum, by Janet and Allen Ahlberg.