I love peaches! My godmother came for a visit on the ranch recently and reminded me about this classic dish. It is such a simple and wonderful way to enjoy summer fruit when it is abundant and at peak flavor. One of my favorite things about making a buckle is the way the batter buckles over and around the fruit as it bakes, making the most scrumptious, chewy, buttery top layer.
TIP: Freestone peaches are best for this recipe because they are easy to pit and slice.
The butter for the buckle and for the caramel sauce does not have to be softened before use.
2 pounds fresh peaches (6 to 8 peaches), pitted
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
To make the buckle: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Cut the peaches into 1/2-inch-thick slices, leaving the skin on the fruit. Gently toss the peaches with 1/4 cup of the sugar and set aside.
Put the butter in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and put it in the oven to melt. Be sure to take it out before the butter starts to brown.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, remaining 2 cups sugar, the baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well. Pour the milk and vanilla into the flour mixture. Mix the batter until well combined, 2 to 3 minutes.
Pull the baking dish with the melted butter out of the oven, and pour the batter into the pan. Distribute the peaches over the top of the batter and return the pan to the oven. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. After an hour, if the top of the buckle is already golden brown, cover it with aluminum foil, taking care to leave space between the buckle and the foil in case the cake continues to rise. (If the foil touches the cake, it may stick.)
Let the buckle cool for 20 minutes before serving.
To make the caramel sauce: Combine the sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the mixture starts to bubble, stop stirring and begin to swirl the mixture occasionally. Watch carefully for the mixture to begin to turn color, about 10 minutes after it begins to bubble. When the liquid is the color of honey, carefully add the butter pieces. Stir with a wooden spoon until the butter is completely melted. Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the cream. Once the cream is fully incorporated, stir in the vanilla and salt. Cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a serving vessel.
To make the whipped cream: Use an electric mixer to whip the cream until it begins to hold soft peaks. Add the sugar and whip for 1 minute more.
Serve the cooled buckle with the caramel sauce and whipped cream.