Peaches continued

The perfect slice

The perfect slice

So, I went over to my Aunt Connie and Uncle John’s house to say hello–Thea and Theo as I refer to them. On the way in I saw a peach tree in their backyard that was propped up with wooden supports, this to obviously prevent the hundreds of peaches from breaking the branches of this beautiful specimen of a fruit tree. 


My aunt and uncle had just returned from Greece, just in time for the peaches to ripen and just in time to prevent the squirrels from eating every one.  As the story goes, last year, upon their late September return from Greece, long after peach season had ended, they were greeted by hundreds of peach pits on their deck, a result of the squirrels helping themselves to the overly ripe fruit. 


They generously offered to me about a dozen peaches from the tree which I promptly placed in a brown paper bag to ripen, and then set out to create the below recipe, which is adapted from Nick Malgieri, one of the foremost authorities on baking and pastry. It’s a basic coffee cake, but it benefits from a layer of fruit in between the cake and the crumbs–in this case, peaches of course. But I wondered what I could add as the recipe on its face, didn’t seem to jump off the page.


Ginger and peaches are a natural combination, so I added dried ginger, along with some other spices, to the batter and the crumbs, and some fresh ginger to the peach filling.  As is my usual custom, I added a dash of cayenne to the crumbs for some spice. No one spice here overwhelms, just as in the peach cheesecake.  Never underestimate the power of spices to liven up sweet desserts—used in a subtle way, they offer a great flavor base.  This cake lasted nearly a week on the counter, which is where I suggest you put it, so that the peaches and the crumbs and the butter cake synthesize into one delicious mass.  With a cup of coffee, you’re in peach heaven. Enjoy!




½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

1 egg

3 egg yolks

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 ¼ cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg




2 pounds soft ripe peaches, peeled and sliced to make about 3 cups of sliced fruit

½  teaspoon of fresh ginger

¼ teaspoon dried ginger





Crumb topping


1 ¼ cups all purpose flour

¼ cup brown sugar, packed

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Dash cayenne (maybe an 1/8 of a teaspoon)

½ cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 10 inch round cake pan, line with a round of parchment paper and butter the parchment as well. Alternatively, you can use a 10 inch spring form pan and use the same buttering and flouring technique but omit the parchment assuming you are going to serve right on the base of the spring form.


Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside. 


Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the egg and the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping the bowl down to ensure even mixing. Add the vanilla. 

Stir the dry ingredients into the batter and then scrape down the bowl, give it a few stirs to ensure it is mixed well and spread into the pan.  It will not be as thick as a layer cake—perhaps 1 inch thick, maybe less.


Stir the peaches and the dried and fresh ginger in a bowl and then place on top of the batter and spread evenly.


To make the crumbs, place all of the ingredients except the melted butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until mixed.  Add the butter and pulse until combined. Alternatively you can do this by hand in a bowl.  Sprinkle the crumbs onto the peaches and then pack down a little with your hands to compress the crumbs a bit. 


Place in the oven and bake for about 1 hour until a knife tip inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (there still may be a little wetness from the peaches).  Cover with foil if the crumbs are getting too brown. Remove from oven. Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.  Run a knife around the rim of the cake.  Turn over onto a sheet pan, remove the parchment, and the re flip onto the serving dish.  Cool completely before serving.


Alternatively if you are using the spring form pan and you wish to serve right on the base of the pan, run the knife around the rim, and then remove the rim by unlocking the pan sides.  Then place the cake, along with the bottom, onto your serving dish.


Serves 12.



Salmon on the grill

Look for my recipe for a grilled salmon fillet with an orange, ginger, soy glaze with fingerling potatoes and spinach.  All of it can be prepared on the grill, and I will post the recipe tomorrow for the salmon, the glaze and potatoes.  For those of us who don’t want to turn on our ovens in the middle of summer, this is the way to go!  Recipe tomorrow!