Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Peach Puzzle

A couple of years ago, I discovered this recipe in America's Best Lost Recipes.  I love peaches and I love puzzles so it seemed a no-brainer to bake this dessert.

Basically,  in a pie plate, a layer of  whole peaches is drizzled with a brown sugar syrup and topped with a biscuit topping.  Pretty standard ingredients and pretty standard assembly.  But here's the fun part:  in the center of the pie plate, you put a custard cup upside down and arrange the peaches around it.

Then you drizzle the syrup onto the peaches and top with the biscuit topping.

When it comes out of the oven, it cools on a rack for 30 minutes and then you flip it over onto a large, rimmed plate.  Voila!  A lot of the syrup has been sucked into the custard cup and can be used to drizzle over the whole dessert!  Ice cream is essential.  The room goes quiet when people eat this!

Cooling on the rack

Flipped over and beautiful!

With ice cream!

Here's the recipe (I've modified the directions just a bit):

Make the syrup by combining the following ingredients in a small saucepan and heating until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts:

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt

Prepare the peaches.  Place a custard cup upside down in a 9" pie plate.  Peel 7 whole peaches (dip them in boiling water for 30 seconds and the peels will come off very easily).  Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits.  Arrange around the custard cup.

Pour the warm syrup over the peaches.

Make the dough.
Mix together:
1 1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Grate and stir in:  5 Tbsp. frozen butter.  

Add:  6 Tbsp. milk

Stir with a fork, then pat into a 9" circle.  Place the dough on top of the peaches--don't attach the dough to the edge of the pie plate.  If you'd like to cut a circle of dough out of the center where the cup is and add it to the edges, that will be fine.  (I also think your favorite shortcake/biscuit dough would work fine here.)

Place on a baking sheet.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes, until the top is golden.
Remove from the oven and put the pie plate on a rack to cool for 30 minutes.

Here's the magical part:  Place a large, rimmed plate on top of the pie plate and quickly invert the peach puzzle onto the plate.  Cut into 7 wedges.  Top with ice cream and spoon syrup over the whole lovely-tasting, summery, peach puzzle.  Yum!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Raspberry Blanc Manger

Despite the lack of evidence on this blog, I have been baking a great deal.  I started this blog to chronicle baking through Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my Home to Yours with the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers.  I joined the group after they had already begun and I've been playing catch up ever since.   The recipes I have left seem to have limiting requirements about them, i.e., they require some special ingredient, they need a seasonably-available fruit, or they need to be served immediately.  I am determined to finish the remaining ten recipes! Today I made Raspberry Blanc Manger (pronounced blah-mahn-jhay) which needs fresh raspberries.

I didn't even know how to pronounce this delicacy and certainly had never made one before. You start by whipping up 1 1/2 cups of cream till it forms soft peaks.  In a small pan you combine milk, ground almonds (I used hazelnuts because that's what I had), and sugar.  That gets heated till it boils.  Meanwhile in a small dish you combine a bit of water and gelatin, then heat that and stir it into the nut mixture.

Then you stir some vanilla into the nut mixture, stir in the gelatin, and cool it  in an ice water bath.  Finally the whipped cream is folded in and then some raspberries.  This happy mixture is poured into a round cake pan and put in the refrigerator to set.  I, of course, licked the bowl at this point and it was delightful~it tastes light and refreshing and will be perfect on this hot summer day.

Topped with a bit of Rich's homemade raspberry jam (heated up for easier dribbling) and some fresh raspberries, this was indeed a pretty dessert.  And as expected, it tasted light and summery.

Apologies for only posting one picture:  I've recently had eye surgery and feel rather proud of myself that I have been able to do this well!  This morning I decided to make bread in the bread machine and picked up the measuring cup to measure the flour.  I measured out 4 cups before I realized that I was using the 1/2 cup measure rather than the 1 cup!  I am so looking forward to improved vision and depth perception after the surgery on my other eye tomorrow!