{The Saturday Post} Peach and Basil Crumble + Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Please drop whatever you're doing and make this. Actually, let me rephrase. Since you're in the middle of reading this post, finish reading, take note of the ingredients, and be sure you have everything you need to start baking. Just writing this post makes me wish I'd had more self control, but every last bite was gone in about two days. And I have to confess, most of the bites belonged to me. It's both a blessing and a curse that Andrew isn't the biggest fan of crumbles (though the vanilla ice cream, he can handle), leaving me no choice but to eat everything before it wastes away in the refrigerator.

In case you couldn't tell, I have a thing for fruit desserts, especially when they're warm and baked and topped with brown sugar and butter. I do have an occasional craving for chocolate cake, but if you give me a choice or listen to me order in a restaurant, I usually go for the fruit every time.

A peach crumble, by itself, is a wonderful thing. But it gets better. Basil makes an appearance but isn't overpowering, adding a savory element to the sweetness of the peaches. I sat with this post for at least a week, hoping I'd come up with something more useful to say about the recipe, but the bottom line is that it's a perfect summer dessert, and I hope it makes you as happy as it made me.


To toast the walnuts, place them in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast for ten minutes, or until fragrant and beginning to brown, in a 400 degree oven. For a special presentation, use individual ramekins.

Adapted from Martha Stewart
Serves 4 to 6

For the filling:
4 large, ripe peaches, pitted, sliced, then cubed into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh basil (3 to 4 leaves), chopped
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

For the topping:

2 ounces chopped, toasted walnuts (1/3 cup)
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
3 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and butter an oval baking dish. To make the filling, mix all ingredients to combine.

To make the topping, combine the first four ingredients, then rub in the butter with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly.

Pour the filling into the baking dish and sprinkle with the topping. Transfer to a baking sheet, then bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly, then serve and top with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream (recipe below).


Makes 2 quarts

12 large egg yolks
1 ½ cup sugar
½ tsp. coarse salt
4 cups whole milk
2 vanilla beans, split open and seeds scraped out
4 cups heavy cream

In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt until blended. Gradually whisk in milk.

Cook over medium, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard thickens slightly and evenly coats back of spoon (it should hold a line drawn by your finger), 10 to 12 minutes.

Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl Stir in cream and vanilla seeds. For extra flavor, also toss in the vanilla beans. Place in the refrigerator until chilled. Remove the vanilla beans, then churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer ice cream to a resealable plastic container and freeze until firm, about 2 hours (or up to 3 months).