You know those sweet, drippy peaches you dream about all year? When you’ve had your fill standing over the sink, bake up the rest with dark brown sugar, booze, and a tender topping. And if you see them in late summer, try the recipe with O’Henry peaches: Firm yet satiny, they have a perfect sweet-acid balance and freestone flesh, meaning they’re a cinch to pit.
2 ¾ lbs juicy, firm-ripe peaches
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon each cornstarch, quick-cooking tapioca, and lemon juice
3 tablespoons bourbon
¾ cup flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup almond paste
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1 large egg
3 tablespoons whole milk
⅓ cup sliced almonds
1. Preheat oven to 375° (350° if using a glass baking dish). Make filling: Immerse a few peaches at a time in a saucepan of boiling water until skin loosens easily with a knife tip, 15 to 30 seconds. Peel fruit.
2. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, cornstarch, and tapioca. Stir in lemon juice and bourbon. Cut peaches into 1/2-in.-wide wedges to make 6 1/2 cups. Stir peaches into bourbon mixture and let stand 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, for tapioca to begin to soften.
3. Meanwhile, make topping: Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a food processor, whirl almond paste and granulated sugar to break up. Add butter; whirl until no lumps remain, scraping bowl. Add egg, milk, and flour mixture and pulse just until blended. Transfer to bowl used for flour.
4. Scrape fruit mixture into a 10-in. cast-iron skillet (2 in. deep) or an 8-in. square baking dish. Drop batter in 8 large spoonfuls over fruit and scatter all over with almonds.
5. Bake until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 40 minutes (50 minutes for a glass dish). Let cool on a rack at least 30 minutes.
• Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
Source: Sunset (Servings: 8 | Yield: 1 cake)