Saturday, June 9, 2012

deb perelman's peach shortbread

Picnics are tricky beasts. I love them, but they require a certain amount of preparation. So when my friend Shelly suggested that we meet for a hike and follow it up with a picnic, I started planning immediately. 

I quickly settled on a few things I knew would work well for outdoor dining- lentils with celery root and hazelnuts, orzo with broccolini and feta- but I found myself inexplicably stumped when it came to dessert.  Shelly had thrown out the idea of a blueberry crumb bars, but the blueberries I saw at the store were less than inspiring. So I went back to the drawing board. After poking around through a few reliable sources, I found myself at Smitten Kitchen eyeing the peach shortbread. When I saw they included brown butter, I was sold.

It's a supremely easy dessert and the brown butter will make your entire kitchen smell like heaven.

My only comment? Our picnic was so sunny that the bars softened up and were a bit tricky to eat by hand. Still, I wasn't complaining.

Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Peach Shortbread
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 3/4 plus 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
3 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced

Brown the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir frequently. Once browned, set in freezer until solid (about 40 minutes)

Butter a 9x13 inch pan and preheat oven to 375F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, baking powder, flour, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add the egg and solidified brown butter to the dry ingredients and work in with your fingertips. The mixture will be crumbly. Place 3/4 of the mixture in the pan and press it down firmly. Place the peaches over the crumb base in a single layer and top with the remaining crumbs, scattered lightly over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, until slightly browned. Cool completely before cutting.

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