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Friday, August 22, 2014

Peach Riesling Buckle

Peach Riesling Buckle
This summer has absolutely flown by. It's so hard to believe that Labor Day is lingering just around the corner. Although it's not the official end of summer, it's always been a marker of sorts to signal that the long lazy days we've been relishing are coming to a close. When I was a kid, we didn't head back to school until after Labor Day, so I'm sure that plays into my mindset. Of course, by the time it rolls around these days, my kids have already been back in school for a few weeks.

School or no school, we try to enjoy one last hurrah over the long weekend. You can bet that grills are fired up; coals sizzling as fat melts down...smoke clinging to the humid air. But there is also tons of fresh produce on display, like tomatoes so ripe and flavorful that you can eat them like apples, to peaches that streak your chin and arms with sticky sweet juices, to corn so sweet it's like eating sugar from a cob. Those are some of my favorite things about the tail-end of summer.

Well, today the Sunday Supper crew is joining Gallo Family again, and we're bringing you a menu filled with Labor Day Entertaining recipes. So, of course, my mind was turning over all sorts of riffs on that produce that just screams summer in my ear. Both of the wines that we are featuring this month are sweet and light bodied. Either would compliment a Sunday Supper under the late-summer sun. The first is Sweet Red, and the second is Gallo's newest varietal, Riesling.

Peach Riesling Buckle
I consider myself pretty lucky to have been one of the first people to try their Riesling at the Food and Wine Conference last month. Light and slightly tingly on the tongue, with notes of peach, citrus, and honeysuckle, it pairs perfectly with some nicely grilled meat and veggies. But what I really wanted to do was play up those hints of peach by combining it with some fuzzy peaches straight from the orchard.

To me, the perfect summer dessert is something that uses freshly picked fruit, berries, or cherries. Think pies, crisps, cobblers, and buckles - that sort of thing. I hadn't made a buckle in a number of years. And I'd never actually made a buckle using anything but blueberries, though I remember eating my grandma's peach buckle when I was a kid.

Are you asking what in the world a buckle is? I put it in the same category as those other fruit desserts I mentioned (I think most people do)...a category that includes crisps, crumbles, pies, cobblers, pandowdies, betties, slumps, and grunts. With names like that, it's no wonder it's my favorite dessert category. But what makes a buckle a buckle is that it has a sort of cake base. The base is poured first, and the fruit is set over the top of it. It often has a streusel or crumb topping, as well, though I didn't use one this time. As it bakes, the batter rises up and the fruit "buckles", allowing the batter to encase the fruit.
Peach Riesling Buckle
And just like anything else from that category, it's amazing eaten warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting down on top of it.

So, to enhance the flavor of the ripe, juicy peach filling, I added the Riesling to it. Also the seeds of a vanilla bean to round it out a bit. The flavors were basically a match made in heaven. I could eat the filling itself with a spoon and be entirely happy.

Peach Buckle (w/ Riesling)
This Peach Buckle, infused with vanilla and Riesling wine, makes the perfect end-of-summer dessert. Serve it warm and top it off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
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Peach Riesling Buckle
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert nut-free soy-free vegetarian peaches vanilla beans wine Labor Day July 4th cake American summer

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
    for the peach filling:
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon corn starch
    • pinch of sea salt
    • 1/2 cup Riesling
    • 1 vanilla bean
    • 2 pounds (5 or 6) peaches, peeled, pitted, & sliced (a heaping quart prepared)
    for the crust:
    • 4 ounces unsalted butter
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • few good grates of nutmeg
    • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
    Preheat oven to 350° F. If using a 12" cast iron skillet to make the buckle in, go ahead and put that in the oven now (otherwise just have a 3 quart baking dish ready).

    making the filling:
    Whisk dry ingredients together. Dump them into a large pot, then whisk in the wine. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds from it; add both the seeds and the pod to the pot. Set pot over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 2-3 minutes, whisking to make sure everything is combined and that there are no lumps. Gently stir in the peaches using a wide wooden spoon, and let bubble up gently around the edges for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
    sliced fresh peaches
    making the batter/crust:
    Using oven mitts to handle it, very carefully place the butter into the cast-iron skillet (or the baking dish if not using cast iron), and then slide it into your preheated oven until the butter is melted and bubbly, 5 minutes or so.

    Whisk the dry ingredients together, then whisk in the buttermilk until smooth. Pour into the hot pan, over the melted butter; DO NOT STIR. I REPEAT, DO NOT STIR!
    buckle ingredients into oven
    Remove the vanilla bean pods from the reserved peaches. Now, carefully spoon your peaches as evenly as you can over the batter, drizzling any liquid in the pan over the top. Slide back into the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the batter crust (which has now risen to the top and encased the peaches) is golden and cooked through.

    Serve warm, preferably with a big ol' scoop of vanilla (or buttermilk) ice cream.

    *Peeling your peaches is optional. Some people prefer it, but I don't like that extra step of blanching, so I skip it. They slide off a bit once they're cooked, but again, that doesn't bother me. Entirely up to you.

    You could also use several smaller skillets or baking dishes, depending on how you'd like to present your cobbler. If you do this, just be sure that the volume adds up to about the same amount as using one larger skillet or pan. Divide the butter, batter, and peach mixture as evenly as you can amongst the smaller skillets. Watch your baking time, it should be about the same, but may fall on the shorter side.
    Peach Riesling Buckle

    Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.