Peaches w/ Cardamom Streusel & Honey-Vanilla Cream
I headed up to Ellsworth Hill Orchard in Litchfield, Connecticut this last week to do some summer fruit picking and came across these beautiful, juicy Flaming Fury peaches.
The farm was scenic and serene and loaded with peaches, blueberries and several plum varieties. I got completely carried away out in the orchard and was a bit obsessed with finding the perfect peach (to my husband’s dismay in the insanely sweaty heat). All I could think about was pairing sweet peaches with cardamom for a super easy summer dessert.
Cardamom is a really aromatic spice from the ginger family with camphorous notes and the ability to translate equally well in both sweet and savoury dishes. It’s used in everything from Danish pastries to Indian curries to Middle Eastern coffee. Like ginger, it can be pretty overpowering, so I tend to use it sparingly in cooking. My mom and I actually throw the bruised pods into our mugs of green tea to bump up the flavor.
There are green, white and brown varieties of the spice, and, here, I use the green ones. I remove the seeds from the pods and manually grind them with a mortar and pestle. But ground cardamom is fine to use as well.
Baking the peaches really brings out the sweetness, and cardamom, in place of traditional cinnamon, creates a delicious, crunchy streusel to layer on top. It does not get any easier than mixing a few ingredients in a bowl, spooning the crumbly mixture on top of halved peaches, and throwing it all in the oven. I serve this dish with whipped honey-vanilla cream, which balances out the residual tartness in the peaches. A lovely way to indulge in summer’s fruit. Enjoy!
Yields 4 to 6 servings
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp salt
3 tbsps butter, room temperature (but not completely soft) and cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsps honey
½ vanilla bean, scraped OR 1 ½ tsps of vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400° F.
In a bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, cardamom and salt. Cut in butter using your fingers or a pastry scraper until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Halve peaches on the vertical, remove pits, and scrape off any rough bits. I do this at the last second, so that the peaches don’t turn brown. Also, I leave the skin on as a preference – you can remove the skin if you like.
Arrange peaches in a buttered baking dish. Top with streusel topping and bake for 25 minutes. Remove and let cool briefly.
Whip the heavy cream by hand or by using a hand or stand mixture. Before it is fully whipped, add in the vanilla and honey, so that it becomes evenly distributed (but not over whipped!).
Serve peaches warm with a side of the honey-vanilla cream.