A few days ago, I ran across a recipe online and I could NOT get it out of my head. Tutti Dolce has quickly become one of my favorite food blogs, and this recipe for Brown Butter Peach Scones sounded so fantastic! Fresh peaches, right on time at my favorite produce stand, taunted me to do something with that recipe idea. I wanted to combine the flavors, but I wanted to do it my own way. As usual.
Once the peaches reached ju-u-u-st the right ripeness, into the frig they went (yesterday). Tonight I took them back out and got to work. I wanted to make a coffee cake with streusel topping for breakfast, so I looked through a few of my favorite baking cookbooks for components I could combine. All of a sudden, there was a recipe for Fresh Peach Crumb Cake in “dream desserts Luscious Low-fat Recipes” by Nancy Baggett (c) 1993. Close enough, except for the brown butter.
Are you suspecting that the low-fat version of that recipe is toast? Buttered toast!
I browned 2 sticks of butter even though I only needed a small amount. You can keep it in the frig for all kinds of things. My husband loves noodles with grated Myzithra cheese and browned butter, and I happen to have some Myzithra hiding in the back of the frig, so he’ll be happy!
Browning butter is the same as melting butter, only longer. Truly, you just wait for the melted butter to boil off its water content, and then to fry up its own milk solids in the butterfat. I have shown you everything you need to know in the pictures here. When done, it should smell and taste like the outside of the best golden-brown grilled cheese sandwich you ever had! :)
Watch it carefully toward the end. If you made extra, let it cool until semi-solid then stir. Keep extra in the frig.
I made the crumb topping in my food processor, the fastest way ever — it’s worth washing that thing for streusels and crumb toppings. I *meant to* add sliced almonds but totally forgot! You have to do it that way if you make this. I said so.
To the peach mixture, I added a touch of fresh grated nutmeg — a little goes a long way, especially in such a small amount of fruit. But sometimes dear old cinnamon is just a little simple.
To the cake recipe, I added some cooled-down browned butter instead of the canola oil it called for (and twice the amount), being sure to scoop up extra amounts of the brown bits for added flavor.
Do you see my trick for when I want to scale a recipe up or down? Sticky notes! I do all the math ahead of time and jot it on the sticky right in the cookbook. I still have the instructions and inspirational pictures right there with me!
I didn’t have enough peaches tonight for the full version, so I halved the recipe and baked it in my little 6″ springform pan. That pan has seen a surprising amount of use!
Without further ado, here’s the recipe for a 6″ springform pan. You could probably do this up as 6-ish jumbo muffins — if you try that, let me know!
FRESH PEACH BROWN BUTTER CAKE with Crumb Topping
6″ springform 3-4 servings; for 9″ springform, double the ingredients
3 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon (use the ¼ teaspoon measure, then remove roughly half from it)
1 Tbsp cold browned butter, or regular butter/margarine
Pulse all ingredients in food processor until evenly combined into a coarse meal texture. Alternately, use a pastry blender to do it by hand.
Peach bottom layer
Stir together in small bowl:
3 Tbsp sugar
1 or 2 Tbsp flour (depending on how juicy the peaches are acting)
1/8 tsp cinnamon (see Topping)
2 gratings of fresh nutmeg — very tiny amount for a tiny recipe here!
Peel and slice 1 lb – 1.25 lb peaches and place in a large enough bowl to stir.
Sprinkle sugar/flour mixture over peaches, then fold it in to coat them. Set aside for 10-15 minutes while you make the cake.
Cake (Preheat your oven to 375 degrees!)
6 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt (you can omit the salt)
1/8 tsp baking soda – make sure it is lump-free!
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp sugar
1/2 egg (either use just the white, or fork-whisk one egg and use half)
3/4 tsp vanilla (don’t we all just round up? 1 tsp is fine!)
2-4 drops almond extract if available
2 Tbsp plain yogurt (substitute Greek yogurt, sour cream (non- and low-fat are fine), or buttermilk)
1 1/2 Tbsp browned butter, be sure to include plenty of brown bits
Combine dry ingredients in one bowl. Combine wet ingredients in another. Add dry to wet, then stir or whisk to combine them thoroughly. Do not continue mixing beyond that point or the cake will be tough and holey.
Butter or spray 6” springform pan, 3” deep (mine is Wilton.) Set it on a square of heavy duty foil; fold it up around the sides (sometimes the juices will seep out the bottom.) Set pan on cookie sheet or pizza pan. (If you choose not to use the cookie sheet underneath, your cake will bake faster.)
Put peaches in the bottom of pan and settle them in. Dollop cake batter over the top; smooth with a fork or small offset spatula if needed. Sprinkle all the topping over the cake and leave it fluffy.
Bake in a 375 degree preheated oven for 20 to 35 minutes. Check for doneness every 3-5 minutes starting at 20; variations in oven temperature make a big difference in something this small.
To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake; enlarge the hole in the crumb topping by wiggling it a tiny bit, and then remove it. When done, you should see moist crumbs (or no crumbs) of cake, not any gooey batter.
I think August peaches are best eaten over the kitchen sink ;) but this is a close second! Its good as a snack cake, dessert (oooooh, with ice cream!) or brunch. Give it a try!
Edited in: delicious!