Last weekend my greengrocer on ulitsa Tsar Ivan Asen II had perfectly juicy and sweet peaches, probably the last ones for this year, that seemed to be just made for a nice cake. Searching the internet for a recipe I came across a recipe with rosemary, almost exactly what I was looking for.
My version has a stronger herbal aspect with the addition of lemon thyme. Apart from that I used twice the quantity of fruits and a little less sugar. And, of course, the vanillin had to vanish from the ingredient list.
- 150 g flour
- 4 level tsp finely chopped rosemary
- 4 level tsp finely chopped lemon thyme
- 125 g cold butter
- 100 g sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- grated peel of 2 untreated lemons
- 1 kg ripe peaches (or apricots or prunes)
- 3 EL salty caramel syrup
- 125 g warm butter
- 100 g sugar
- 1 organic vanilla bean
- 3 eggs size L (ca. 65 g an egg)
- 250 g flour
- 5 g baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
- a little butter (or the butter wrapping)
- 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
- two twigs rosemary
- fleur de sel
Prepares in 30 minutes plus 70 minutes baking time
Strip the rosemary needles and the lemon thyme leaves off the stems and finely chop them to about 4 level teaspoons each.
- Wash two untreated lemons and grate the peel.
- Mix the grated lemon peel with the finely chopped herbs, 100 g sugar, 150 g flour and a pinch salt. Add 125 g cold butter cut in cubes.
Knead everything with a mixer until no more large lumps of butter are visible. Transfer to the fridge.
- Bring water to boil in a sufficiently large pot and boil the peaches for about a minute. Peel the peaches and cut them in slices.
Fold in 3 tablespoons salty caramel syrop and let the peaches rest.
- Preheat the oven to 175 °C.
Wash one organic vanilla bean with hot water, dry and finely chop it.Vanilla bean, not scraped out but finely chopped for a change
- Beat 125 g soft butter with 100 g sugar and the finely chopped vanilla bean until foamy. Beat in three eggs one by one and add a pinch of salt.
- Squeeze out the two lemons. Mix 250 g flour with 5 g baking powder.
Sieve the flour with the baking powder into the dough, stirring constantly. From time to time add lemon juice until used up.Preparation of the cake batter
- Lightly grease a baking form Ø 26 cm with a little butter. Spread 3 tsp bread crumbs and shake off the excess.
Spread the cake butter into the baking form. Cover with the peach slices.
- Get the crumble base from the fridge. Put your hands into ice-cold water, dry them, and form crumbles and spread them over the peaches. Cut a twig of rosemary into smaller pieces and press them lightly into the crumbles.
Bake the cake in the pre-heated oven for about 70 minutes at 175 °C without air fan. Cool and serve with fresh rosemary and just a little bit of fleur de sel.
The fleur de sel does not contribute to optics but intensifies the crunchy feel of the fresh crumbles and combines it with a little explosion of flavors in the mouth. If you think that not all eaters at the table are sufficiently adventurous for this experiment, serve it separately. Do not distribute it over the whole cake unless it is eaten right away. It will quickly melt and ruin the cake.
Chop a vanilla bean? Aren’t you supposed to scrape out the seeds only? Why not? Whenever you read “refined with bourbon vanilla” in the supermarket, it normally means “refined with a previously scraped out and then finely chopped vanilla bean”. If the food industry can do it, you can do it, too. But better use organic vanilla beans for it! And for something like panna cotta I would certainly stick with the conventional method of scraping out the seeds.
And, by the way, all crumbles taste best fresh, even luke-warm. The crumbles soften over night which is not so much a problem with the taste but will kill the crunchy feel in the mouth.
Lemon thyme grows all over the country in Bulgaria and is therefore easy to find. But you can safely go with other types of thyme, although you may want to use a little less so that the rosemary still dominates. Do not use dried herbs! The cake gets its kick by the essential oils of the rosemary and thyme. Dried herbs are - in the best case - unnoticeable, but may also give a rather ordinary and stale taste to the cake.
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