Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of writing for my book instead of recipe testing because the recent warm weather has made even the thought of turning on my oven unbearable. But each time I went to the market this week, I couldn’t help but notice crates of sweet, fully-ripened peaches calling out to me. I could no longer resist the temptation and finally caved in and bought myself some. After all, what’s more “summer” than delicious peaches?
The first thing people associate peaches with is cobbler, but I decided to take a different route and make some sweet peach almond bars. They have a cake-like crust adorned with fresh peaches and a crispy, buttery almond topping.
BEACH TOWN BAKING’S SWEET PEACH ALMOND BARS
2 ripe yellow peaches
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup sliced almonds
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking pan. Set aside.
Peel and pit the peaches:
Score the pointed tip of the peaches with an X using a sharp paring knife. Bring a pot of water to a low boil over medium heat. Submerge the peaches in the water for about one minute (the less ripe, the more time you will need to boil them). Remove the peaches and dunk them in an ice bath until completely cool. Gently peel the peaches by pulling at the skin by the scored X or rubbing it off gently with your thumb. If the skin does not come off easily, repeat the boiling and cooling steps again. Using a sharp knife, slice the peaches in halves and gently remove the pits. Slice the peaches lengthwise to get 7 – 8 slices per halve. Set aside the slices.
Make the cake:
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar and zest for one minute on medium speed. Add the flour and butter and mix until incorporated. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
Make the topping:
While the cake is baking, prepare the topping. Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over low heat stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens, about 4 – 5 minutes. Set aside until the cake is finished baking.
After twenty minutes of baking, remove the cake from the oven. Lay the reserved peach slices on top of the warm cake. Return to the oven and bake for an additional five minutes. Remove from the oven. Turn the broiler on high.
Spread the almond topping on top of the cake. Place the cake about 4 inches under broiler for 6 – 8 minutes. Rotate the cake every minute to ensure even broiling. Remove from the oven. Let the cake cool completely before cutting.
Store covered at room temperature.
As a summer treat, I love letting these bars cool and eating them cold as an afternoon snack. Try them both ways and let me know what you think!