For the pie crust: (Smitten Kitchen’s “All-Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough“)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold
1/2 cup ice-cold water
For the filling:
3 large peaches
1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark brown)
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Few fresh gratings of nutmeg, or a pinch of ground
1 tablespoon butter, cut into 6 pieces, kept cold
1 large egg, for glaze
For the hard sauce:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon
A few dashes vanilla, optional
Make Crust: Instructions here. Deb explains why she thinks mixing your crust by hand results in the flakiest crust, but I’m lazy and did mine in a food processor, and it turned out just fine. If you don’t have a food processor, however, a pastry cutter will work – and your crust will probably be flakier than mine. Roll your dough out to a 12-by-18-inch rectangle, and divide into six 6-inch squares. If dough gets too soft or warm while you’re rolling it, continue to the square stage, but then transfer the squares to a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill them in the freezer for a couple minutes, until they firm up again.
Make Filling: Halve peaches and remove pits. Deb recommends scooping out a little extra flesh from the pit indentation with a melon baller, so that there is more room in the “belly button” of the peach to pack the filling.
Assemble Dumplings: Mix brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a little dish. Spoon one lightly packed tablespoon on top of each peach half, smooshing as much of the sugar mixture as you can into the center. Dot the top of each with a piece of the cold butter. Center a peach half, cut side up, in your first pastry square. Bring corners up to meet each other over the center – if it feels tight, or as if you’re short of dough, make sure that the dough underneath is flush with the peach curve; it tends to get slack – and seal the seams together, pinching with your fingertips.
Bake Dumplings: Arrange dumplings in a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking dish, and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 375˚. Whisk egg together with one teaspoon water to form a glaze. Brush glaze over the tops and exposed sides of dumplings. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until pastries are puffed and bronzed on top.
To Finish: While baking, make the hard sauce. Beat softened butter, confectioners’ sugar, and bourbon until smooth. Scrape into a serving dish. When pastries come out of the oven, dollop each with a heaping spoonful of the hard sauce, and serve pastries with the sauce melting over the sides. Ice cream optional, but delicious.