Fresh Peach and Brown Butter Pecan Crumble

by Hilary Gauntt on August 5, 2013

It’s August, and the peaches are gorgeous!  Here is a great way to make the most of them….

This recipe is courtesy of Jill O’Connor, a local San Diego food writer, pastry chef, and author of six cookbooks, including “Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth.” The brown butter adds a nutty intensity to the crumble topping.  She advises to refrigerate the crumble until firm before sprinkling it over the peaches to keep it from sinking into the fruit.


10 Tbs. unsalted butter

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans


3 pounds ripe-but-firm peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced

1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 Tbs. cornstarch

Pinch salt

Brown the butter: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.  When melted, increase the heat to medium-high and bring the butter to a boil.  Continue cooking the butter until the butter solids begin to caramelize and turn golden brown and develop a sweet, almost nutty aroma – about 5 minutes.  Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour the brown butter into a bowl to stop the cooking process.  Allow the butter to cool.  Stir in the salt and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, combine the sugars, flour and pecans. Use a fork to stir in the brown butter until moist clumps form.  Refrigerate the crumble topping until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the peaches:  In a large bowl, toss together the sliced peaches, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and salt.  Pour into a 9 inch square pan or 9 inch cast-iron skillet.  Sprinkle crumble over the surface of the fruit and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until fruit is softened and the juices are bubbling and the crumble topping is crisp and turning brown.  Transfer the pan to a wire cooking rack and cool for about 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 6.

Note:  Browning the butter requires your attention.  It turns very quickly from browned to burned, so keep your eye on it!  Mine was browned in about 2-3 minutes, not the 5 in the recipe. I was worried that my peaches were not ripe enough (still pretty hard) but it made them easier to peel and they kept their shape and were delicious.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Yvonne August 17, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Made this this week when we had Robin & Stan for dinner. So delicious – with a little vanilla ice cream on top! I used mostly nectarines with a couple peaches. I think I chopped my pecans too small as they sort of disappeared. Too bad we had left-overs! We ate it the next 2 nights.


Hilary Gauntt August 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

I actually like these leftovers for breakfast! Nectarines sound wonderful in this, Yvonne.


Lisa Case August 22, 2013 at 7:14 am

Hilary, as I mentioned when I saw you in Texas, we hosted a couple of tennis players for a week while they played a tournament near our house. I made this one night, served with vanilla ice cream- we did not have leftovers! We all thank you for a scrumptious dessert! (Also made the Caprese garlic bread twice- was definitely a factor in a couple of match wins, they couldn’t believe how good it was!) Heron Earth pretty much supplied me with menu choices for the week- thank you! XO, Lisa


Hilary Gauntt August 22, 2013 at 8:27 am

Thanks for the pep talk Lisa! I’m already wondering what to feed you all when you come in September!


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