Peachy.... (Grain Free Frangipane Crumble )



In a moment of weakness I bought one of those punnets of early Spanish peaches in the supermarket. I had fifteen minutes to complete the shopping, load it all into my panniers and race to school to pick up a possibly grumpily peckish Fin. I squeezed one at the top of the punnet and it gave pleasingly to my thumb, so in they went, letting out a delicate peachy summer sigh on the way.

At school I presented a hot dishevelled boy with the soft peach and soon juice was running down his chin and all the way to his elbows. You already know about Fin's ability to cover himself with food - with peaches it's like fruit Armageddon. We cycled home before the bees got a whiff and decided to carry him off.

Of course, the rest of the peaches in the punnet were as hard as rocks. Even after a couple of days in the banana cupboard they refused to let go and start ripening. Raw unripe peach is no fun, but I was craving so I chopped them up and simmered with a knob of butter and a little water until remarkably, the alchemy of heat transformed them into something soft, juicy and luscious. The only way to further enhance that warm buttery peach was with a frangipane crumble topping, scented with vanilla and lemon zest, browned in a gentle oven.

So if you find yourself with a few recalcitrant peaches, count yourself lucky - because you will have the perfect excuse to make this decadent, fragrant satisfying crumble.

Peach Frangipane Crumble (SCD) serves 4

8 peaches or nectarines
6 oz ground almonds
zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
6 tsp set honey
4 tsp cold butter
1 tsp bourbon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 160C

Peel the peaches if you're not keen on skin and chop into chunks. Heat gently in a saucepan with a knob of butter and enough water just to cover the bottom of the pan - not the peaches. You can always add more water if you want. Cook gently until the fruit is soft, but not too pulpy. There should be just enough juice around the fruit to make the crumble juicy, not swimming. Pile into a dish and spread into an even layer.

Tip ground almonds into a mixing bowl and sprinkle over vanilla and lemon zest. Spoon in honey and butter and rub together gently with your fingertips until a damp crumble mixture forms. It's not quite as easy as a flour mix, but if you go lightly it should be fine. Spoon over the fruit and pop into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Enjoy with some thick yogurt or creme fraiche, or maybe even a scoop of Pure Banana Ice-Cream.