Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Still alive!

My sincerest apologies for the radio silence these past months. No, I haven't stopped cooking and baking, it's just that starting a new, time-consuming, tiring, but utterly fulfilling job tends to send things like blogging to the back-burner. BUT! With this post, I'm hoping to slowly get back into it. So without further ado...

I'll have you know that I have another one of these in the oven as I type. That's how good it is. The one I made yesterday didn't survive to see the light of a new day, and the rest of the homegrown nectarines given to me by my aunt were just begging to meet the same fate as their brethren - to be covered with a blanket of brown sugar and butter and baked into deliciousness.

I can take no credit for this recipe's success. All the work is done by the those amazing nectarines, whose freshness and sweetness needed little to help them onto another level of culinary delight. I've found that this is often the case with quality, fresh, seasonal produce. Sometimes it's best to just let those ingredients shine.

First, I sliced the nectarines, put them in a baking dish and drizzled them with a little lemon juice. Then I covered them with a simple streusel topping and baked them at 375F for 30 minutes. That's all, folks! Here's how I made the streusel:

114g brown sugar
58g all-purpose flour
43g quick-cooking oats
about 3/4 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

Mix everything but the butter together in a largish bowl, then add the cold butter chunks and mix with a pastry blender until the mixture is sandy and just holds together when you squeeze it. I imagine you could also accomplish this with a food processor, but I found the pastry blender gives more control of how much you mix, and more importantly makes for an easier clean-up.

If you're as lucky as I am and happen to work in an artisan chocolate factory and have access to raw cacao nibs, you might want to do what I did and throw a handful of those in there too. I think you'll be pretty happy with the results, but I'm positive it will be great without them as well.

Sprinkle the streusel atop your nectarines (or peaches, or any other kind of fresh fruit you happen to have on hand) and pop it in the oven. After 30 minutes, pull it out in all its bubbling glory, and try your best to wait til it's just cool enough to not burn your tongue. It may not be the prettiest thing when plated, but i guarantee you it will taste like pure summer.

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