Have you ever seen a new restaurant in your neighborhood and told yourself that you’d try it one day? Time can pass until you eventually step foot inside–only to discover a new favorite that you wish you’d experienced earlier.
That’s how I treated peaches this summer. When they first emerged at the Farmer’s Market, I thought I had the entire season to buy some. I didn’t want to OD on them too early. Well, my first taste came in August–now I need to make up for lost time.
While sautéing the peaches with rum for this recipe, I sampled–and sample–the intensified fruit flesh. The taste was unmistakably summer, so I had to stop myself from or else I’d have nothing to offer but a a plain corn cake.
I still have time to savor this fragrant summer jewel for the entire month of August and a little beyond. The only down side to it is my allergy to stone fruit. (I can’t eat them raw; they must be cooked.) I don’t intend to let this little obstacle keep me away. With the plethora of peach dessert ideas, I’ll be able to get reacquainted with this old friend.
Lavender Scented Peach and Corn Upside-Down Cake (gluten-free)
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
yield one 9-inch cake
1 ear fresh corn, husk and silk removed
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons plus 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar, divided into 1/4 (1-1/4 ounces) and 3/4 cup (3-3/4 ounces)
3 medium ripe peaches (about 1-1/4 pounds), peeled, pitted, and cut into 8 wedges/peach
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 cup (5-1/2 ounces) coarse yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup (3-3/4 ounces) gluten-free all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons dried lavender. chopped
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Cut the kernels from the ear of corn and transfer to a small bowl, about 1-1/4 cups. Cut cob into 4 pieces and place them in a small sauce pan, add heavy cream and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350℉. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, swirl pan to coat sides with butter as it melts. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar evenly over bottom of skillet, and cook until sugar starts to bubble and turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Arrange peaches in a circle at edge and center of skillet, on top of sugar. Chopped remaining wedges and scatter between the wedges in the pan. Reduce heat to low, add rum and cook until juices are bubbling and peaches begin to soften, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Whisk cornmeal, flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, lavender, and salt in a medium bowl, set aside.
4. Place 8 tablespoons butter in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Add remaining 3/4 cup of sugar and continue to beat until creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add eggs one at a time, beat until fully incorporated. Reduce speed to medium-low; add vanilla and beat until combined, about 15 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape down bowl.
5. With mixer on low, add about one third of flour mixture, followed by half of corn-infused cream. Repeat, ending with flour mixture. Remove mixing bowl, add corn kernels and finish mixing with a rubber spatula, careful not to overmix.
6. Pour batter over peaches in cast-iron skillet, and spread evenly using an offset spatula. Bake until golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Transfer skillet to a wire rack, and let stand for 10 minutes. Run a knife or spatula around edge of cake. Quickly invert cake onto a serving platter. Tap bottom of skillet to release peaches, and carefully remove skillet. Reposition peach slices on top of cake if necessary. Let cool slightly before serving.