Each season in life brings with it its own flavor.
Some seasons are sweet; and some seasons are salty, bitter or tangy. But rest assured that each time period of life—each unique and special season—has a flavor all its own, and a taste that is special to it.
The season of summer has, for me, always had a fragrantly sweet and fruity flavor to it. It reminds me of the seasons of life that offer up “fruits” that have had the time to ripen and mature, and gain depth and juiciness because they have come full circle through the other more challenging seasons that came before.
The summer season, complete with all of its fresh stone fruits such as nectarines, plums and fresh peaches that drip juice down the chin, is like those times of life that are warm and candy-like after there has been struggle, challenge, wind and rain. But without those previous seasons, the fruits would not be what they are now, which tastes that much better.
A warm, fragrant, bourbon-infused summer peach crisp fresh out of the oven is a perfect pleasure to slide spoon into when a lingering sweet taste is what one longs for. It fills the home with a comforting natural aroma, one that whisks a soul away and allows it to get a little swept up in the joy of things.
A sweet season contains love, joy, peace and balance; it offers opportunity to rest a little after you’ve, perhaps, labored for a while, and your spirit is tired. It offers solace to the soul.
And that’s what luxuriating in the flavor of something can do.
So I raise a spoon to the unique flavor that each season of life brings; and for this particular one, may it be filled with sugar and spice, and everything nice.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Warm Vanilla-Bourbon Peach Crisp with Pecans, topped with Whipped Vanilla Cream
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 8
• 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
• ¾ cup old fashioned oats
• ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
• ¾ cup brown sugar
• 1 ¼ sticks cold, unsalted butter (10 tablespoons), cut into pieces
• Pinch salt
• 8 large peaches (ripe but still firm), peeled, pitted and sliced
• 3 tablespoons bourbon
• 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• ¾ cup brown sugar
-Preheat the oven to 350°, and lightly butter a 12 x 9 ½ x 1 ½” (roughly) baking dish.
-Prepare your topping by adding all of the topping ingredients to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and mix the ingredients until they become coarse and crumbly, breaking any large pieces up with your fingers; place topping into the fridge to keep cold while you prepare your filling.
-Add the sliced peaches to a large bowl, and toss together with the remainder of the filling ingredients; pour the peaches into the prepared baking dish, and top with the crumble topping.
-Bake the crisp for 45 minutes, until golden and bubbly; allow to cool for about 20 minutes, and serve warm with the Whipped Vanilla Cream, or vanilla ice cream.
Whipped Vanilla Cream Ingredients:
• 8 fluid ounces whipping cream, cold
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
-Add the cold cream to a large bowl, and begin whipping with a hand-held mixer, or electric standing mixer fitted with a whip attachment; whip until it starts to become thick.
-Add in the vanilla extract and the powdered sugar, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form; use immediately, or cover with plastic and keep refrigerated.