I don’t know about you, but we’re solidly in fall here, with summer’s fruit and berries climbing in price and declining in colour and quality. Luckily I managed to think ahead so I can dip into my freezer whenever I want to make some sort of fruity baked good. Freezers are also the answer to not-so-great (a.k.a. mealy) fruit. It’s so disappointing to take a big bite of a luscious-looking peach only to have that yummy fruit turn to ash in your mouth – ok, I may be exaggerating a little, but mealy fruit is truly gross. When you get a bad batch — I still haven’t figured out how to ID mealy fruit just by looking at it in the grocery store… is it even possible? — anyway, just cut it up and toss it in the freezer. Baked goods are rarely affected by mealy-ness. I’m on a Sarah McLachlan kick at the moment, so let’s put one of her albums on and get cookin’. Oh, by the way, this dessert is not only perfect for fall, but it’s a great way to sneak in some extra (non-soy-based) protein into your diet. Thanks to The Voluptuous Vegan by Myra Kornfeld for providing the bones of this recipe.
- 1/2 cup raw almonds (I keep all nuts in the freezer to maximize their lifespan. They go rancid quite quickly when kept in the cupboard – well, except salted roasted cashews… We eat them too quickly for them to go rancid.)
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 4 tbsp canola or melted coconut oil
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 4 tbsp arrowroot flour
- 6 cups unpeeled but pitted peaches, cut into bite-sized chunks (if you’re using frozen peaches, make sure you defrost them first and drain off any extra liquid – otherwise you’ll be making peach soup)
- 2 tsp lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the almonds into a non-greased baking pan and toast them for about 5 minutes – make sure you don’t burn them! When you start smelling them, take them out. Toss them into the food processor and give them a buzz so they’re turned into little bits.
In a medium bowl, toss the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt together. Mix, then drizzle the maple syrup and oil over the mixture, mixing the liquids in with your fingers. The crumb topping is ready when it feels like damp sand (P.S. I love it when chefs tell you what the dough/mixture/sauce is supposed to look or feel like – it gives you that much more confidence that the dish will work out in the end, and gives you the chance to fix/tweak things as you progress through a recipe. Major kudos to Myra Kornfeld for doing exactly this throughout her book.).
In another bowl, toss the brown sugar, sea salt and arrowroot flour together and mix well. Add the peaches and lemon juice and toss to coat. Pour the peach mixture into a square 9×9 baking dish, then sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the top. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the crumb topping has darkened slightly and the peaches are bubbling. Let it stand for at least a few hours before cutting into it so it has a chance to firm up. However, if you’re desperate for dessert and can’t bear to wait, serve as soon as you want – just know that it’ll be a little soupy (i.e. serve in a bowl, not on a plate). Enjoy!