When two of our kids were in school at the University of Texas at Austin, we would often visit. At least part of each visit inevitably was spent at a restaurant, Mom and Dad paying of course. A favorite place was the Hyde Park Café. It was fairly close to the campus, and the food was very good. It was a little pricey for college budgets so we often went there when we were in town. The rest of the time, Peter and Sarah would usually eat ramen in their house lovingly called Casa Hillmont, or they would choose takeout offered up at the “roach coach” on the street corner just outside the physics building.
The Hyde Park is still very much a part of the Austin food scene, although it has changed its name to the little more upscale Hyde Park Bar and Grill, and they have opened another location in another part of town.
Whenever we ate there, Susan always got the peach pudding for dessert: a square of warm cake topped with peaches and swimming in a pool of thick cream. It is still on the menu at Hyde Park.
Somewhere along the way, we managed to get a copy of the recipe and it wound up in the family cookbook. It’s still as good as ever, and it makes a great dessert for company or for pot-luck dinners. You can dress it up with whipped cream or crème fraîche or ice cream, but I think it is best warm with thick cream.
Hyde Park Café Peach Pudding
- 2 pounds canned or frozen peaches (slices or halves, your choice) or fresh if you prefer
- sugar (If you use fresh peaches*)
- Fruit Fresh® or citric acid (If you use fresh peaches*)
- 2½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2¾ cups sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3¼ cups flour
- 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1¼ cups buttermilk, room temperature
- Thaw and drain the peaches. If you prefer, you can use fully ripe fresh peaches. It will take about four large peaches. Blanch and peel them, cut them into slices and toss with sugar and Fruit Fresh or citric acid the night before. Refrigerate until you are ready to use them.
- Using a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Then cream together with the sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until the eggs are fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat until fully combined.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Add the dry ingredients to the batter, one-fourth at a time and alternating with the buttermilk. Beat well after each addition. Continue beating until smooth.
- Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 12 inch metal baking pan. and arrange the peaches evenly on top. Note: The batter will rise and overflow a smaller pan, and baking will be greatly prolonged in a glass pan.
- Bake in the middle of a preheated oven at 350°F for 25 minutes. Turn the pan around and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Check frequently during the last 15 minutes of burning as the topping burns easily. If it becomes too brown, cover loosely with aluminum foil. When done and the center has set, remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut into serving-sized squares and serve while still warm with heavy cream, whipped cream, crème fraîche, or ice cream.