I am so glad I finally got around to making this; it has been on my to do list since early in the summer, when I first saw it in the New York Times. It was really simple to make (although the two pans for the fruit and browned butter irked me a little), tasted fantastic, and had a rustic, but pretty presentation.
I have to admit, it did take me two tries to make this simple summer dessert. It wasn’t because it was a challenging recipe, it was simply because I wasn’t paying attention. I was buzzing along, measuring and laying out ingredients so I could photograph them and mistakenly weighed the flour at the sugar weight of 5 ounces instead of 3 ounces, and oh what a difference those 2 ounces made. The first round was not edible at all and I was super upset, because my parents had brought the nectarines all the way down from my favorite local orchard in NY where I grew up. Plus I hate wasting food or ingredients – it really irritates me. However, the cake quickly went from leaded to light once I corrected my flour measurement. I didn’t realize my mistake until the day after, but I’m glad I did, because a good recipe would have been cast aside solely on my goof.
As far as baking time is concerned, I would err on the side of caution and leave it in on the longer side. I thought mine could have gone just a tad longer. A good way to tell, is to look at the bubbling fruit juices; if the center of the dish is bubbling, and juices look clear/almost clear.
Nectarine Brown Butter Cobbler/Cake
Adapted slightly from The New York Times
Serves 6 to 83 cups fresh nectarines or peaches in 1/2-inch slices, or a combination (about 1 pound) 5 ounces sugar (about 3/4 cup) 1 teaspoon lemon juice 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 3 ounces flour (about 3/4 cup) 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/8 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup buttermilk 1/4 cup sliced almonds 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 2 tablespoons Demerara Sugar (turbinado sugar or coarse sugar would work also)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the fruit slices, 1/4 cup sugar and lemon juice. Stir/push the fruit gently and constantly, trying not to break up the fruit. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then take off the heat; set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook, swirling the pan until it smells nutty, turns golden, and flecks of golden brown appear, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the brown butter into an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish.
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 just moistened. Pour batter on top of the butter, scraping bowl clean and using a spatula to even out the batter in the pan, without mixing it into the butter. Scatter the nectarine slices on top, and then pour any remaining juice evenly on top of the batter; do not stir. Sprinkle with the almonds, nutmeg and sugar. Bake until golden brown, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm, refrigerate leftovers.