Constance Snow's The Rustic Table offers smart, no-nonsense recipes from peasant cuisines around the world. Snow, who lives in New Orleans, also looks close to home for inspiration. Here, for instance, she makes one giant shortcake and layers it with warm, buttery peaches, then cuts it into wedges for serving.
More Recipes With Peaches
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons brandy
1/4 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 firm, ripe peaches—halved, pitted and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup heavy cream
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 375°. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with vegetable spray. In a small bowl, stir 1 tablespoon of the sugar with the cinnamon. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, the baking powder, nutmeg, salt and baking soda. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the cold butter until it is the size of small peas. Make a well in the center of the flour and butter mixture and add the buttermilk and the beaten eggs. Stir with a fork, until a dough forms. Scrape the dough into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35 minutes, until the top is golden. Brush the top of the hot shortcake with the melted butter and sprinkle all over with the cinnamon sugar. Transfer the shortcake to a rack to cool for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, pour the brandy over the raisins and let stand for 20 minutes. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the peaches, cover and cook over moderately low heat until just softened, about 6 minutes. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the brandy. Add the remaining brandy, raisins, brown sugar and cinnamon to the skillet. Cook the peaches over moderate heat, stirring often, until glazed and crisp-tender, about 8 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whip the cream with the reserved 1 tablespoon of brandy until soft peaks form. Remove the shortcake from the pan and transfer to a plate. Using a serrated knife, slice the cake in half horizontally; slide the top of the cake onto a plate. Spoon the peaches and sauce over the bottom of the shortcake. Top with the other half. Cut the cake into wedges and serve with a dollop of brandy whipped cream.
The shortcake can be baked up to 1 day ahead.
This shortcake is rich but not too sweet, an ideal match for a light, refreshing dessert wine like Moscato d'Asti from Italy. Gently sparklingor frizzante, as locals would sayand low in alcohol, Moscatos typically have an unmistakable aroma of honeysuckle and tangerines.
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