I never knew what these strange flat peaches were called. I bought them and ate them, that was it. They are called Saturn peaches, or Donut (Doughnut) peaches.
So how do they differ from regular peaches? Well first of all, they are flat. Okay not so flat, but not so circular either. Flattish. Their skin is yellow and red, and they are usually less fuzzy than ordinary peaches. Their flesh is also a lot firmer, sweeter and more fragrant than a regular peach – they have a candy-like sweetness and a melting quality. Mmmm and some undertones of almond. Perfect for a peach and pecan crumble! The sweetness is due to what is referred to as the honey gene, a dominant gene that is found in all Chinese peach varieties – these being descendants of a flat peach variety native to China.
So, knowing that, I thought let’s give them a try baked in a delicious peach and pecan crumble! This peach crumble is dead easy to make, but it does take a little time to prepare. Okay, not so lomg. I think 20 minutes. The cooking time takes an hour. So plan ahead. Also, I like mine cooled to room temperature..another 45 minutes or so. Yes, so planning is required.
Another essential question…why is this a crumble and not a crisp? Aaaah, what is the difference between a crumble and a crisp? Don’t they both have basically the same essence? Flour, sugar, the pinch of salt and butter. Some oats, maybe some nuts thrown in for good measure. Let’s ask google shall we? King Arthur (the flour King) says that a fruit crisp topping is simply flour, sugar, and butter baked together whereas a fruit crumble topping adds oats and nuts to the mixture. Aha. clarity. All the wiser.
PEACH AND PECAN CRUMBLE
1 cup old-fashioned oats (100 g)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (65 g)
1/4 cup brown sugar (50 g)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter (113 g)
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (25 g)
8 cups sliced peaches (6-8 peaches, depending on size)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup soft brown sugar (100 g) (when I use flat white Saturn (donut/doughnut) peaches, I reduce this to 1/4 cup as they are sweeter than the standard variety)
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon powdered vanilla
generous pinch of cinnamon (about 1/4 teaspoon)
pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F / 180°C.
2. Grease a rectangular baking dish or pie pan; set aside.
3. Using a food processor or mixer, blend together 3/4 of the oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and butter until no dry spots remain. Transfer to a bowl and work in the remaining oats and pecans with your fingers.
4. In a large bowl, toss the peaches with the sugar, cornstarch, orange juice, zest, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
5. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish; scatter the oat topping over the mixture. Bake for 1 hour or until fruit juices are bubbling and topping is golden brown.
6. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature (45 minutes to 1 hour).