- Course: Dessert
- Skill Level: Moderate
- Cost: Moderate
- Favorited: 6 Times
To cook the peaches properly it is important not to overcrowd them in the pan. Depending on the size of your pan, you can divide the peaches and other ingredients more or less equally into 2 or 3 batches.
For the Compote:
- ¼ cup water
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 7 to 8 (3 ½ pounds) peaches, pitted, cut into eighths, and cut in half diagonally, to equal about 9 cups
- 6 to 8 gratings of fresh whole nutmeg
- ½ cup brandy
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 heaping cup fresh whole boysenberries, blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries
For the Biscuits:
- 1 2/3 cups unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- Fresh whole nutmeg
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Powdered sugar
- 8-to 9-cup-capacity or 12 x 8-inch baking dish
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
To prepare the compote: In a large heavy-duty skillet, stir together the water and sugar. Using a small paring knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise. With the back of the knife, scrape out the pulp and the seeds, and add the scrapings and the pod to the sugar mixture. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil without stirring. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, brush down the sides of the pan to remove any undissolved sugar granules. When the sugar begins to color, after about 3 to 4 minutes, tilt and swirl the pan to cook evenly. When the mixture reaches an even medium caramel color, remove from the heat.
Add the peaches and a few gratings of the nutmeg, tossing to coat. The mixture may spatter and the sugar may seize and harden. Remove from the heat, add the brandy, and return it to the heat. Tilt the pan slightly toward the flame to ignite the brandy, letting it burn until the flames die down and most of the sugar melts, about a minute.
Place a large strainer over a bowl and pour in the fruit, straining the liquid into the bowl. Remove the vanilla bean and transfer the peaches to the baking dish.
In a small saucepan, stir together the reserved liquid and cornstarch. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Pour the thickened juice over the peaches and scatter the berries evenly throughout.
To make the biscuits: In a large bowl, sift to combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour on the cream. Using one hand, draw in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour. Pick up 3 to 4 tablespoons of the dough, gently stretch it to ½-inch thickness, and place it on top of the peaches. Continue with the rest of the dough, making an uneven scattering of stretched biscuit over the fruit, leaving some of the peaches poking through.
Brush the dough with the tablespoon of cream and grate a few gratings of nutmeg over. Arrange the sliced almonds in a single layer on the dough and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, until the biscuits are lightly browned and the liquid is bubbling. Cool for 5 minutes and sift a fine layer of powdered sugar over the top.
© 2000 Nancy Silverton
Nutritional information is based on 8 servings and does not include Powdered Sugar for garnish.