These days, I bake to get out of my head. It’s easy to get so far into your head when you’re studying that I think a good way to unwind is to do something with your hands. Anything that is tangible and quiet to get away from the noise in your head is a welcomed pause in the chaos of modern living.
I had a choice between a Chez Panisse fruit crisp or a Melissa Clark cobbler. Both equally sounded like a fabulous place for a set of over-ripe nectarines to rest in peace. I ended choosing the Melissa Clark one because it was different and it had browned butter. End of story.
This was probably the most appropriate study break ever. Thirty minutes tops to create a mess and wipe up, and back to studying I go. Most of the time study breaks stretch out to an hour or an hour and half because of the number of steps involved. Shh :P
This is probably the first cobbler I really enjoyed in recent memory. It has so many nice textural components from the crunchy bits of sliced almonds to the chewy bits of the barely-formed buttery cake. Then, there is the custardy middle, and the subtle tang of buttermilk. Oh, and it’s fast to put together. That’s always a plus. What’s there not to like? :)
Brown Butter Nectarine Cobbler/ Cake
Adapted from the Melissa Clark Brown Butter Nectarine Cobbler/ Cake (via New York Times)
3 cups of nectarines or peaches, sliced in 1 inch thick pieces
3 ounces granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 ounces flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 c buttermilk
1/4 c sliced almonds
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons Demerara sugar
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the fruit slices, 1/4 cup sugar and lemon juice. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a simmer, then take the pan off the heat.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until it smells very nutty, turns golden, and flecks of dark brown appear, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the brown butter into an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour the buttermilk into the dry ingredients and mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Scrape the batter on top of the brown butter, use a spatula to even out the batter but be careful not to mix it into the butter. Scatter the nectarine slices and juice on top of the batter without stirring. Sprinkle with the almonds, nutmeg and Demerara sugar. Bake until golden brown, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm.