I will be continuing my cookbook exploration, as promised. Stay tuned.
I am, as you may have suspected, one of the many food-obsessed.
While eating breakfast, I’ll be planning my lunch and preparing a mental shopping list for dinner. When we go out, I’m constanly looking in market stalls, restaurant menus and other people’s grocery carts for inspiration. When enjoying a meal, I’m critquing the bite in my mouth, keeping an eye on the presentation, and rarely does my date survive without at least one bite stolen from his plate.
When faced with a dish, I automatically compare it to the times I have had it before, considering what I like and would improve in this incarnation, and looking for ways in which I can create my own version. It’s a compulsion, and I relish every minute of it.
I realize that the food-obsessed is not a rare breed, but we are a passionate, inquisitive and enthusiastic bunch. Not a terrible combination, I’d say.
Most recently, I became fixated on peaches. The hot hazy days of late July were upon us and, in my opinion, there is nothing more equatable to summer than the honeyed sweetness of a ripe peach. One bite into the yeilding flesh, with juices flowing down your chin, and you’re tasting all of the season.
Living in a prime stone and soft fruit region, my anticipation grew, and I began culling recipe books and websites for peach recipes, finally stumbling upon a streusel cake from Williams and Sonoma.
But oh, one recipe would be too simple. Still on my mission for the perfect recipe, I clicked over to the charming Delicious Delicious and was interested in Caryn’s blueberry streusel muffins. What if I took the W&S peach recipe and converted it to muffins or mini-cakes instead?
I have no idea where the sour cream came in. I swear, I was all set on my recipe, and out of nowhere came the thought of the tangy density of a good sour cream crumb cake entered my busy little brain. And so, I was lost. The third recipe hunt began. Donna Hay’s Modern Classics: Book 2 proved my saviour, with her sublimely simple muffin base recipe (my usual standby).
So I was set. I would combine the struesel from Williams Sonoma, the form from Caryn, the base from Donna Hay (slightly altered) and I would have my peach perfection.
Then my dear father offered me a pint of gorgeously bursting blueberries. Remembering the colour combination of black and peach from Nigella’s fruit bake with yoghurt (blackberries and peaches), I couldn’t resist his offer. This was collaboration at its best, and the result could not have been more rewarding.
Blueberry peach sour cream crumb cake
With thanks to the many contributors.
For the topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For the cake:
2 cups plain (all purpose) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup blueberries
2 medium sized peaches, peeled, pitted and cubed into medium chunks
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter and flour a 9 inch round springform pan (see Note).
To prepare the streusel, stir together the flour, brown and granulated sugars and cinnamon in a bowl. Using a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers, cut or rub the butter until coarse crumbs form. Set aside – if working in a warm kitchen, refrigerate until needed.
For the cake, sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Stir in sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream, eggs, vanilla and oil, until smooth.
Stir the sour cream/egg mixture through the dry ingredients. Be careful not to overwork the batter – mix until just combined.
In a small bowl, combine the blueberries and peaches.
Pour batter into prepared springform pan and spread evenly to fill the base (the batter will look like it is too little, but it will expand while baking). Sprinkle the mixed fruit over the batter and evenly top with the streusel.
Bake until lightly golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Remove the sides of the springform pan. Can be served warm or at room temperature.
• As pictured, this recipe can also be made in a 12 x 1/2 cup capacity non-stick muffin pan. When spooning in the batter, fill until about two-thirds full. Reduce the cooking time to approximately 12 minutes. In this preparation, you will have extra streusel topping, which can be frozen for a later use.
• To peel peaches, simply bring a two-thirds filled saucepan of water to boil. Using a small knife, cut a small, shallow “X” into the bloom end of each peach and immerse the peach into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Lift out with a slotted spoon and transfer to an ice bath until cool (you can skip this step and allow them to cool on a board, but I find the ice bath expedites the process). Once cooled, the skins should peel off easily, using either your fingers or the knife.