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Maple-Bourbon-Brown Butter-Peach Crisp

Pretty sure the title says it all.

We like to think of this as a Vermont homage

to summers in the South

- cruising the Blue Ridge Parkway.



For the topping-

8 tblsp unsalted butter (1 stick / 4 ounces)

1/2 of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped *

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup quick oats

1/2 cup JEM Maple sugar

1/2 teaspoon fine sea or kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

flaky salt and our signature JEMstone shavings for sprinkling

For the Filling-

2 pounds ripe but firm peaches (6-8 peaches / 6 cups sliced)

1/4 cup bourbon whiskey (like Makers Mark, Bulleit, really anything will do)

1/4 cup maple sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped*


Browning the butter -

Combine the butter and vanilla pod half and seeds in a small saucepan.

Melt the butter over medium heat, and continue to cook until the butter turns golden with dark brown flecks, about 5 minutes, swirling frequently.

Toward the end, the butter will foam up dramatically; watch it closely at this point. Let the browned butter cool at room temperature while you prepare the filling. (If the butter is at risk of over-browning, pour it into a heatproof bowl or measuring cup to stop the cooking.) Remove the pod and discard (or wash, dry, and save it for another use).

Prepare the filling-

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375º. Have a 10" oven-proof skillet or a 10" solid tart or pie pan, or something equivalent ready.

Cut the peaches in half, then cut each half into six to eight slices. Place in a large bowl (or right into the baking vessel) and sprinkle with the bourbon.

In a small bowl, combine the maple sugar, vanilla pod and scrapings, rubbing the seeds into the sugar to distribute them evenly. Remove and discard the pod (or save it for another use).

Stir the cornstarch into the sugar, then add to the bourbony peaches, tossing gently to coat. Distribute the peaches evenly in the baking vessel.

Make the topping-

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, maple sugar, nutmeg and salt.

Stir in the melted, cooled brown butter, stirring with a spoon or your hands until the mixture forms large clumps.

Scatter the crumble topping over the peaches, taking the time to form some of it into small, hazelnut-sized balls.

Scatter a bit of flaky salt over the top, as well as maple sugar shavings from the JEMstone.

Bake the crisp until the topping is golden and the fruit is bubbling, 45-60 minutes.

Let cool at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, preferably with vanilla ice cream. (Leftovers make a tasty breakfast, cold from the fridge, with yogurt instead of ice cream.)

*If you don't have a vanilla bean on hand, add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the cooled, browned butter, and another 1/2 teaspoon to the filling along with the bourbon. I used Bulleit bourbon here, but any brand will do.

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