Nectarines are what I dream about all year. In fact, before we even started dating, Romain and I forged one link in our bonding with our common love for our favorite fruit. And when the weather warms in the spring, while I’m happy to be patient about the seasonal march of produce, stone fruit are the one thing I start becoming very impatient for. Then when they come, well, I believe could eat them exclusively for every meal! All of which explains why I start to get a little panicky as their season fades.
I have a fruit guy, a seller at the marché, who isn’t a producteur (because they are hard to find for fruit here) but who sells very carefully chosen fruits and always from France during the season. I trust him and his fruit. For the past couple weeks, I’ve been asking him in a worried tone every Wednesday at his stand, “C’est bientôt fini pour les nectarines? Pour les abricots?” (Is it almost over for nectarines? For apricots?) “Ah, oui. Oui. C’est fini, la.” Yes, yes, it’s pretty much finished now. So in the panic of finding fewer and fewer of these lovely things at his stand each week, I buy them by the pound. Where as the lady in front of me will order 5 peaches, I will order 3 kilos (at 2.2 pounds the kilo). And we’re eating them, broiling them, roasting them, freezing them, turning them into jam. Because we’ll need just a little reminder now and then of their goodness to get us through the winter. Won’t we?
But here’s the thing, sometimes you don’t go to your trusted fruit seller. Or it is really just too late in the season. And you find yourself with a handful of fruits that will start to wrinkle before they will ever ripen. That’s where I found myself with four donut peaches last weekend. I wanted to save them (we can’t waste peaches now!) but eaten raw they would have been so disappointing. So I thought of Romain’s favorite dessert, cut the peaches in half, and mixed oats, butter, flour, and sugar with a pinch of lemon zest.
And here’s what you do with your stone fruit that won’t ripen: you make individual fruit crisps with them. Very simple, very fast, and so good that the Frenchman, who, despite having a favorite type of it, eats dessert so rarely that when he says yes to one I ask him if he is sure, well these are so good that he asked for more. In fact, I had to hide these two to photograph! That’s testimony, people. Try them.
Donut Peach Crumbles
makes 8 pieces, for 8 servings or 2 if you invite a Frenchman
4 donut peaches
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats
25g or 1 1/2 tbsp. chilled butter, cut into smallish pieces
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest
large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
whipped cream (optional)
a handful of unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a baking pan with parchment.
- Cut the peaches in half across their width and, if they are easy to remove, remove pits. You can leave them in, and I did, just be sure to tell the recipient that there may be a pit in the center. Arrange the halves cut side up on the baking pan.
- Place the rest of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and, either with your finger tips or a pastry cutter, combine until it creates large crumbly chunks and the ingredients are incorporated. Divide this mixture evenly over the tops of the halved peaches.
- Bake in the oven until the tops are golden, about 30 minutes.
- Serve warm or at room temperature topped with fluffy whipped cream and little gems of chopped pistachio.
*”Yum!” in French. Isn’t it funny to translate sounds?