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Lemon-Basil Peach Dumplings

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So this recipe is totally crazy.  Just wanted to warn you before you got too involved and the list of ingredients sent you reeling.  I’m just going to put it out there.  Right here and now.

This recipe has two whole sticks of butter in it.  And 1 1/2 cups of sugar.  Both are poured/sprinkled over only sixteen itty bitty peach “dumplings” which are really only slices of peach wrapped in crescent roll dough.  And you know what else I  poured over the top along with the butter and sugar?  Sprite.  Yup.

But here’s the deal.  These dumplings are so good and totally worth the butt dimples you will get after the little artery-cloggers work their way through your system and your body decides to skip the digesting part and just add them straight to your butt.

I made this for a cooking challenge on Facebook to make a recipe using fresh peaches, Sprite or 7-Up, and fresh basil.  So this is what I came up with, based on a cooky Midwestern recipe for apple dumplings (see it on PW’s blog here).

I still have yet to make the original version, but now I know I have to come fall because you would not believe how good this summery version is.  Sweet, yes, but not too sweet, incredibly.  And the juicy peach is the star, somehow not overpowered by the lemon & basil*, or all that sugar and butter. When I took them out of the oven, the liquid was pretty sloshy but thickened up and seemed to absorb a little more after 10-15 minutes, making the dumplings crispy with sugar on top and gooey on the bottom, but definitely not soggy, which is what I had feared.

They are best warm, but I served the leftovers (after Dennis and I had our way with a few) at room temperature to my family after a barbecue and they went crazy for them.  Even my sister, Danielle, who refuses to eat my (beloved) pumpkin gooey butter cake because it has two sticks of butter in it (light weight!), and generally only takes a few bites of my desserts, not only ate one ( a whole one!) but also took one home with her for later. Miracle!

*The fried basil does add a nice color and the mildest of flavor, which I thought was perfect, but if you’re really hoping for a huge pop of basil, I’d double (or more) what the recipe calls for.  Or just make extra to munch on–they are even crispier than potato chips!

Fried basil is so cool-it gets transparent and shatteringly crisp. Would also make a great garnish on soup!

While making these, I admit I cringed the whole time I was pouring and sprinkling sugar over the top.  I tried to stop myself several times.  How could sixteen little bitty teeny weeny dumplings need that much butter and sugar?!  But I had to go with the original measurements in the end, and I’m glad I did.  Because they are perfect.  Besides, divided between 16 servings, it’s really not too bad and actually lower in fat/sugar than most of the cakes I make.  Or at least, that’s what I was telling myself when I helped myself to seconds. >:)

Lemon-Basil Peach Dumplings

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3 medium fresh peaches
2 (8 oz) cans refrigerated crescent roll dough
1 lemon
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup Sprite
½ cup fresh basil leaves (not packed)
Coconut or vegetable oil for frying

Fill a pot that is big enough to fit three peaches with water high enough to cover them. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice and water to have ready to cool the peaches. When the water is boiling, add the peaches and boil for 1-2 minutes, until the skin is easy to remove. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to ice water. Once they are cool to the touch, take them out to peel off the skins. If the skins don’t peel easily, boil again for a minute.

Preheat oven to 350F. Slice the peeled peaches in half around the pit, separate the halves and remove the pit. Slice each half into thirds. You will only need 16 of the slices so feel free to nibble on two of them as you continue with the recipe.

Butter a 9×13 baking dish. Wrap each peach slice in a crescent roll and place in prepared dish. Grate the zest from the lemon and sprinkle over the dumplings (reserve the lemon), then sprinkle 1 cup of the sugar over the top. Melt the butter and pour over the top, then sprinkle the remaining sugar over. Juice the reserved lemon, then add the juice into the Sprite.  Pour over everything, then bake for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat ½ inch of coconut or vegetable oil in a small skillet or saucepan to 360F. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test it by throwing a basil leaf in.  If it is ready it will pop and spatter big time so be ready to cover it with a splatter screen or jump away. When the oil is ready, throw the basil in the hot oil, then IMMEDIATELY cover with the splatter screen. Fry until crisp, then remove to a thick layer of paper towels to drain. Once cool to the touch, about a minute or two, crumble up with your fingers and set aside. The oil makes the basil stick to your fingers so just get as much off as you can.

Remove the dumplings from oven and sprinkle the fried, crushed basil over the top. Serve the dumplings warm with ice cream, spooning the sweet sauce from the pan over the top.

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