Yesterday I happened to see a reference to the fact that Christmas is only 152 days away and I suddenly lost my bearings. Although it’s not hard to imagine the trays of cookies, the scent of pine and a chill in the air, I like to stay firmly planted in the present. And, as I review my calendar for August, I realize another interesting moment is approaching, the 6th year anniversary of this blog. Yikes! While it’s true that most bloggers routinely hit a wall after two years, my intentions are still very much in tact. So I just keep going week after week, fashioning the cream and the crumb. I still love working and learning in my lab season after season, each with its own mood, sights and scents.
For example, there’s this moment in the summertime when you walk into the kitchen and the intoxicating aroma of ripened peaches washes over you like the best perfume. Their skins are dark red and they give just a bit to the touch. They’re ready.
It’s my impression that the fruit in my region has been very good this year. I only ran into a couple of mealy apricots but the rest of my purchases have been really stellar. And so it is with these peaches. They were beautifully ripe and I thought I’d use them to substitute in Thomas Keller’s Apple Cake from The French Laundry Cookbook. The recipe is a pretty basic cake formula with fresh fruit slices pushed into the surface. When you cut into it, the orange red sunset hues of the peaches are revealed. An easy cake for summer, the fruit bakes into a warm luscious texture.
So my advice for the day is to seize the moment. Before we head toward Christmas once again, pick up some peaches and immerse yourself in the joys of summer!!
- Peaches should be ripe but not overripe or the cake will be soggy.
- I added 1 teaspoon of vanilla along with the milk.
- The recipe calls for baking the cake for 40 – 50 minutes but mine was done in just about 40 minutes, so check it on the early side.
- This cake would be nice served with a dollop of whipped cream flavored with almond extract or Amaretto.
- Keller’s recipe is an apple and cranberry cake served with a sweetened butter and cream sauce.
based on Sally Schmitt’s Cranberry and Apple Kuchen with Hot Cream Sauce in Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook
2 – 3 (about 1 lb) fresh peaches
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 oz (6 tablespoons) butter @ room temperature
3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup (4 oz) milk @ room temperature
3 tablespoons (29 grams) sugar
scant 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9" cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
Cut the peaches in half and remove the pit. Cut into 1/2” slices and set aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
Cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and combine thoroughly. Scrape down the bowl. Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with half the milk, beginning and ending with flour.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Press the peach slices into the batter, skin side up, working around the pan in a circular pattern and leaving a little less than 1/2” above the batter.
Combine the 3 tablespoons sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle evenly on the surface of the cake. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 38 – 42 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool for ten minutes. Run a thin bladed knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, then invert. Peel off the parchment and invert again. Cool.