Happy accidents might seem like an oxymoron, but not for this cook. The irony of today’s cooking episode lies in the reality that I don’t typically eat or make dessert unless it promises to be “ultimate.” I spent years in my youth seeking out best-ever meal endings: first apple pie, then blueberry pie, then cheesecake. Every summer road trip, every time I pulled out a cookbook, my family knew exactly what I was going to order or prepare by whatever the search-for-the-perfect-something was at that time. Double the irony when a decade or more later I found myself working in restaurant kitchens and assigned the job of desserts. Armed with completing the pastry certification class at Francois Dionot’s L’Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda, Maryland, I took on the task, but not with much enthusiasm. I did not find my professional juice as a chef until I was allowed behind the hot-food line on Saturday night service. Now I was truly cooking!
But when summer reaches its’ peak, and plums and peaches and cherries abound, when Oregon and Washington and Virginia apples arrive in the market in September, I thumb through my files, dive deep into my archived recipe inventory on Dropbox, or begin the online search with keywords: Peach Buckle, Blueberry Crisp, Apple Pan-Dowdy.
So when is a peach buckle not a Peach Buckle? When you are convinced there are eggs in the buckle batter and add them. You realize the pan is a bit full, reference the recipe and see your error, grabbing a rimmed sheet pan on which to set the baking dish. You turn up the oven thinking, “Maybe this will be more like a Dutch-Baby Pancake, and the batter will set with higher heat?” You hope to avoid it exploding all over the oven bottom.
The brown-butter-infused custard rose up to embrace the peaches, but only just enough to enrobe them in sugary, crusty, caramelized goodness. I will ALWAYS make my buckles with eggs in the future.
I attach the recipe for “Not a Peach Buckle” below. Get yourself some of this.
This recipe was inspired by and adapted from David Lebovitz’s “Texas Peach Cobbler.”