(Amateur) Kitchen Chemistry: Peach Crumble

Because the internet failed me yesterday, I've got two posts in queue today! This one's about dessert, but I'll be posting a real treat this afternoon... Happy Friday!

Adam's not the only one who plays mad scientist in our kitchen/laboratory. I've been conducting research of my own and making important advancements in the field of baking.

I'll have you know I suffered goggle lines for the sake of this corny picture!

When I bake with strawberries or apples I use the bruised, overripe, mealy, or otherwise homely fruit that doesn't make the cut for raw snacking. However, an icky peach makes an ickier pie (and don't even get me started on canned peaches). One of the perks of living in California is the abundance of gorgeous organic peaches. After last week's trip to the farmer's market I found myself with more ripe fruit than I could eat- so I decided to stage a peach crumble experiment.

The texture of a fresh peach is just as lovely as the flavor, so it's a terrible waste to reduce it to jam in the oven. My solution was to halve each peach, placing one half in the center of the dish and filling the gaps with slices of the remainder. I then poured in a mixture of sugar, flour, and a few drops of lemonade- just enough to coat all of the fruit and pool a bit at the bottom. The resulting filling was just like a bite out of a sun-baked peach. Success!

I used pyrex lab glass for my observation, but standard ramekins will work nicely.

Half of any good fruit crumble is the crumble, so I tested several formulas. The Classic Crumble featured an oatmeal cookie topping similar to the one that I used on my Strawberry Rhubarb Pie- substituting even more cinnamon for the ginger and lemon. The Honey & Ginger variation had a light and spicy topping consisting of flour, honey, sugar, baking powder, and plenty of crystalized and powdered ginger.  The Oatmeal & Maple crisp was my Eureka! moment. The topping is merely a packet of Quaker instant maple & brown sugar oatmeal!

Of course, my favorite part of any baking trial is the taste test (it was all very scientific, I assure you). My findings? The Honey & Ginger was innovative and the Classic Crumble yielded an impressive amount of "yum" per bite... but the Oatmeal & Maple crisp is a Nobel Prize contender.

3 Have Spoken.:

Aoife.Troxel said...

Looks really good! Luckily it's dinnertime, so I can eat!

Lisa said...

That looks really yummy. My mother used to take freestone peach halves and bake them cut side up with some butter and brown sugar in the pit cavity and serve them with baked ham. Sorry, I don't know at what temperature (maybe 350) or for how long, but they make a nice addition to the plate.

Elizabeth said...

Aoife... Thanks! They were quite tasty- and I'd recommend for breakfast as well!

Lisa... I've seen that done, and that'll be something to try next time we take on a ham, especially if Adam uses a maple glaze. The maple syrup flavor was incredible complimentary to the peach!