roasted peaches with honeyed cream and almond brittle

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Whoa, what a mouthful this recipe is. You need all the information you can get though – information is power, and power is these roasty toasty peaches. I’m also not ashamed to say that I was eating this whipped cream out of the bowl, with a spoon. It’s that time of year. I’m back at school, and trying to get in the swing of things – so here’s the late posts. Posts might be late these days, but I like to think we’ll all survive.

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This is a recipe for when you forget that you want to make dessert, or when you feel as though you’d like some fresh fruit involved. You can leave out the almond brittle, switch up the cream, or just guzzle the roasted peaches straight – I won’t tell.

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This recipe is also one where the exact amounts don’t matter so much. Toss your peaches with a bit of cinnamon, rub the pan with a bit of butter. For the cream, one glug of honey and a pinch of salt should do it. Dump some sugar in a saucepan, melt it down, and toss with some sliced or slivered almonds. Boom – brittle. I think that these are the best types of recipes – the ones that give you the flexibility to make the food you want. Whether that be significantly sweeter roasted peaches, no-salt whipped cream, or peanut brittle instead of the lowly almond. It’s your pick. Congratulations, this just might be the one thing in your entire life that is completely under control. Relish that.

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roasted peaches with honeyed cream and almond brittle

ripe peaches
cinnamon
brown sugar
unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 glug of honey
Pinch of sea salt

how-to:

Preheat oven to 425F. Rub the inside of an 8×8 pan with the unsalted butter. Feel free to use a larger pan if you’re using more peaches! Halve the peaches, pick out the pits, and cut them into quarters. Toss with a couple of pinches of cinnamon and a spoonful of brown sugar. Place in pan, and roast until they’re your desired level of roastiness – you can go really far, or keep them somewhat firm.

While they’re roasting, place parchment on a sheet pan and spray with nonstick spray. Place the sugar in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Stir around with a spatula every once in a while, until melted. It might look weird at various stages up until this point. Stop stirring once melted, and bring to a deep amber color. Stir in the almonds, and pour out onto prepared pan. Smash the brittle into a flat shape – relatively thin. Let cool completely, and break into shards of desired size.

Lastly, place the cream, honey and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk until soft peaks.
Place roasted peaches in small ramekins or bowls and top with the cream and brittle. Enjoy warm and melty.

summer pavlova

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Let’s face it – when the summer fruit begins to roll in, we’ve got high expectations.  We’re making pies and tarts and jams and fillings. There’s a point, though, where the cooking is out of hand. This moment is usually pretty soon for me. Cooking fruit gets old. Fresh fruit is in, always.

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I’m also busy, since it’s August, and we’re all busy. Between work, this blog, trying to get my cat to like me, reading cookbooks and watching game of thrones…. you see how my days get eaten up quickly. Casual aside – did you see game of thrones yesterday?? I’m thinking dragon themed desserts for the rest of the summer. Lots of blowtorching, maybe? Scorched earth is what we’re after. All men must die, right?

This dessert is the best of both worlds – a super easy meringue and marshmallow-y base, rosy whipped cream, and piles of fresh strawberries and raspberries. Change it up if you want – I’m always feeling peaches. Feel free to also mess with the whipped cream – maybe some fresh mint or basil or even maybe chocolate?? Do what you will with that. I believe in your ability to improvise with what you’ve got.

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If you’ve always seen pictures of pavlovas on the internet and said – hey, that’s pretty – now’s your time to shine. Also, you’ll have some leftover yolks, and if you don’t feel like making ice cream with those I’m not totally sure we should be friends… at least give it a shot. Or don’t. It’s hot, and if you just want to sit on your couch and rewatch game of thrones… please invite me.

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summer pavlova
recipe adapted from alice mendrich

1 cup sugar (superfine works better, just whiz some sugar in a food processor for 15 seconds)
1½ teaspoons cornstarch
4 egg whites, room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (or 1 teaspoon white vinegar)

1 cup heavy cream
1½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon rosewater

1 half pint raspberries, 1 half pint strawberries or whatever fruit you feel like

how to:

Preheat oven to 275°F. Trace a 7 inch circle on a piece of parchment, then turn it over. Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar and beat at medium-high speed with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until egg whites are creamy and hold a soft shape. Add the sugar mixture 1 teaspoon at a time. When it is all in, it should be a stiff meringue.

Spread the meringue on the circle and use a spatula to spread it into a swirly, somewhat flat dome. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until it is browned a bit, pinkish and feels really crusty on the outside. The inside will be marshmallowy though, so don’t freak out (like I did). Cool it completely on a cooling rack. It is going to crack and settle when it comes out of the oven. Don’t worry – you’re just gonna be piling whipped cream and fruit on top, so it’s supposed to be rustic.

Make the whipped cream by whipping the cream, sugar and rosewater to stiff peaks. Pile whipped cream on meringue and top with fruit. Serve immediately. Once you put it all on, it’s only best for a couple hours, so eat up!