Palisade peaches, they are seemingly everywhere. As the season peaks, what in the world are you to do with all those peaches? $1.99 per pound at Safeway? I’ll take two dozen, thanks. Thankfully, Deb Perelman has a compelling answer.
Deb, or, Aunt Deb, as we affectionately call her, is not from Colorado, but from New York City. So, while we’ve never had the pleasure of actually meeting her, you can just tell by reading her cookbooks (and now her monthly column in Bon Appétit magazine) that she’d be the best aunt. Every time you’d visit, she’d cook every meal. Heck, she cook for you even when she was visiting you. She has an answer for every breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snack — from the complex to the simple.
Her peach dumplings with hard sauce delight with individual sized servings of melty-hot peaches fragrant with fall spices, each enrobed in its own flakey crust. Hello, autumn.
Here is Aunt Deb’s early fall solution for your ever ripening plethora of peaches:
Smitten Kitchen’s Peach Dumplings with Bourbon Hard Sauce
• 2 ½ cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 16 tablespoons (two sticks) unsalted butter, very cold
• ½ cup water, ice-cold
• 3 Palisade peaches, ripe
• 1/3 cup brown sugar
• Pinch of salt
• ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 4 fresh gratings of nutmeg
• 1 tablespoon butter, cut into sixths
• 1 egg and 1 teaspoon water, whisked together for glaze
• 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, at room temperature
• ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
• 1 ½ tablespoons bourbon or brandy
• Make the crust first, as it must chill for two hours. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Dice the chilled butter and pulse into the flour mixture until the aggregate looks like wet sand. Freeze for four minutes. Drizzle cold water over the mixture and work it into a “craggy, uneven mass” with a spatula. Finally, knead the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
• Flour your work surface. Roll out the dough to a 12-by-18-inch rectangle, then cut into six 6-inch squares. Transfer the squares to a flour-dusted baking sheet and chill for two minutes to firm up the dough.
• Bifurcate each peach. Remove the pit. Excavate (with melon baller or rounded measuring spoon) the peach flesh to enlarge the concave hole in each peach half. You want room to add the sugar and spice and everything nice.
• Mix brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and pack each peach half with 1 tablespoon of the mixture. “Dot” the top of each half with a butter piece.
• Place each peach half, cut side up, on its corresponding dough square. Bring each dough corner up to meet atop the peach. Keep the dough taut along the peach’s curves, leaving no saggy or floppy dough. Gingerly, press and seal each of the four dough seams.
• Place all six dumplings in your choice of a buttered baking dish. Chill for half an hour while the oven preheats to 375 degrees. Paint the egg and water mixture over all exposed dough. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until “puffed and bronzed on top.”
• Whisk the hard sauce ingredients together until homogenized. Top each dumpling. Serve. Eat. Think, “Mmm … autumn.”
Thanks, Aunt Deb.