Peach Woodford Pudding with Bourbon Caramel

So as you can see we’ve got an entirely different kind of thing going on now. It’s an upside-down-style “cake” as I said, with peaches (which I couldn’t find fresh but bought in frozen slices) and bourbon-tinged caramel on the top. Plus it’s round. And you know, it works pretty well. I went back and adjusted the flavorings…a little vanilla to round it out, plus I scaled back the cinnamon and the nutmeg a bit (the old-schoolers used to get pretty carried away with that stuff). All in all I think it makes for a not-at-all-shabby — and not entirely implausible — update of a Kentucky classic. The recipe, after all was said and done, ended up like this:

Peach Woodford Pudding with Bourbon Caramel

For the cake:

1 cup all-purpose flour (5.5 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the topping:

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
1-2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
1 lb. peach slices (fresh or frozen)

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 and bringing all your dairy ingredients to room temperature.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, prepare the topping. Moisten the sugar with the water and set over high heat, gently swirling the pan so the mixture keeps moving. When the sugar turns deep amber, remove the pan from the heat and add the butter (it will foam up fiercely). Stir it gently with a metal or wooden spoon until the butter is fully incorporated. Once the mixture begins to cool add the bourbon (if using) and stir once again until smooth. While still warm pour into a lightly greased 9-inch round (or 8-inch square) layer pan, making sure there is even coverage. Once cool enough to touch, arrange peach slices in whatever pattern you wish on top of the caramel.

Put all the dry ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk to mix. Combine the vanilla and the buttermilk. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer), combine the butter and sugar and beat at medium speed until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and continue beating until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Next, turn the mixer down to medium-low and add 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture. Mix until incorporated, then turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk mixture, then finally the last third of the flour mixture, scraping down the bowl between additions.

Gently pour the batter over the peaches and caramel, spreading it evenly with a spatula. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the pudding is browned and the center is gently domed. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Run a knife gently around the edge of the layer pan. Place a serving plate on top of the layer pan. Using oven mitts, grasp the serving plate while pressing the lip of the cake pan firmly up against it. With one smooth motion, flip both the pan and plate over. Jiggle the cake pan gently to unstick the pudding (if necessary) and remove. Let stand ten more minutes, then serve warm with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream.

So that’s it. I’ll tell you whose cookbook it’s going into once I find out.

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