Peach and Raspberry Gratin with Noyaux Cream

Judy Rodgers

Zuni Café - San Francisco, CA

When making this rustic dessert, the resourceful Judy Rodgers infuses the creamy topping with the kernels of peach pits (known in French as noyaux), which impart a delicious, almond-like flavor.


Noyaux Cream:
Reserved peach pits (obtained from the peaches for the gratin)
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
Pinch salt

Peach and Raspberry Gratin:
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs*
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
4 to 5 medium peaches, skin on, pitted, and cut into 1/2--inch-thick wedges (reserve the pits for the above noyaux cream)
1/3 cup red raspberries
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour


To make the noyaux cream, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Wrap the peach pits in a towel, place them on a sturdy work surface, and crack them open with a hammer. The center of each pit will contain a small almond-shaped kernel, which is known as the noyau. Place the noyaux on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until they smell like almonds, but have not browned, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.

While the noyaux are toasting, prepare an ice bath. Heat the heavy cream in a 1-quart saucepan over high heat. When the cream just begins to bubble around the edges of the pan, turn off the heat and add the hot noyaux. Cover and let the noyaux infuse the cream. Taste after 10 minutes. The cream should have a very strong almond flavor. If you would like the flavor to be even stronger, continue infusing until it's to your liking. Strain the cream and chill over the ice bath. Refrigerate until needed.

To make the gratin, preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt the butter in a 1-quart sauce pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter has turned a light brown color and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Add the light brown sugar and stir until it has dissolved. Transfer the mixture to a large metal bowl; add the bread crumbs and mix well. Set aside. 

Combine the peaches, raspberries, sugar, and flour in a large metal bowl; gently toss to evenly coat the fruit in the flour. Divide the peach mixture evenly among 4 small baking dishes that are approximately 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the prepared bread-crumb topping over the fruit in each baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until the peaches have softened, the juices are bubbling around the edges of the dish, and the bread crumbs are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Just before serving the warm gratin, add the sugar to the infused cream and whip to medium-stiff peaks. Put a dollop of noyaux cream in the center of each gratin.


4 servings