Ever since I made inside-out pear crumble way back when I first started blogging about food on here, I played with the idea of making something similar with peaches. But it was never peach season, and if it was, I was traveling somewhere. If there ever was a point when fresh peaches were sitting on our counter, I never had vanilla beans. And I was determined to make my crumble with real vanilla beans.
Finally, at the beginning of last August the peaches and vanilla aligned. During our family trip to Italy, I purchased a little bag of vanilla beans at a spice shop in Sorrento. I also snagged some whole nutmegs; both spices cost less than half what they would have in the United States – reason number 2609 to love Italy.
Once home from Italy, I threw myself into cooking again, attempting to fit in as much culinary bliss as possible before moving to my essentially kitchen-less dorm in mid-August. With my whole vanilla beans at last in hand, I wasted no time in concocting the dessert I had so long mused over: inside-out vanilla peach crumble.
I combined a buttery crumble topping with the minuscule, caviar-like vanilla seeds. I supposed I could have ground the entire vanilla bean – an idea to which I was recently introduced from a post on Food Gawker by London Bakes who learned it from 101 Cookbooks - but I hadn’t heard of that at the time.
Instead, I put the empty vanilla pod in a tupperware container of sugar, which gave the sugar a lovely vanilla flavor. I can’t remember where I read that idea, but it is clever, too.
Roasting the peaches transforms their juicy flesh from luscious and firm to luxurious and succulent. The flavor of their sugars deepens and intensifies, melding with the savory butteriness and rich vanilla tone of the soft crumble filling. I only wish I had baked the peaches earlier in the day, so I could have taken advantage of natural light to snap a picture to do their deliciousness justice.
- 1/3 cup whole wheat flour (for gluten free: use a gluten free flour mix of your choice or a combo of brown rice, millet, and oat flours like the on in my gf pancakes recipe)
- 1/3 cup oats
- 2 dashes salt
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cold butter
- 2 vanilla beans
- 4 to 6 ripe peaches
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cut butter into small chunks. In a medium bowl combine flour, oats, sugar, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Slice vanilla bean pods in half lengthwise and scrape the insides of the pods with a knife to remove the minuscule seeds. Mix the vanilla seed scrapings in with the rest of the crumble mixture.
Slice the peaches in half. Remove the pits of the peaches. Using a melon baller or a small spoon deepen and widen the cavity inside of the peach just enough to remove the pointy flesh where the pit used to be. Spoon crumble filling into one half of each of the peaches. Place all the halves skin side down in a baking dish.
Bake for 30 minutes. If you want the crumble to both soft and crispy as opposed to just crispy, at the 15 minute mark place the tops of the peaches on their respective crumble-filled counterparts. If not, just watch the crumble carefully to be sure it doesn’t burn. Enjoy warm – with vanilla ice cream, perhaps?