I adore peaches. I am pretty sure they are my very favorite fruit. I don’t care what anyone else says, they are only really good if you either 1: grow them, or 2: buy them from a local farmer who has allowed them to ripen on the tree. I am not sure I’ve ever purchased a good peach from a grocery store. They are like tomatoes in that way.
The best recipe I’ve found to enjoy them is in this cobbler. At our Farmers’ Market, the vendors often sell lightly bruised peaches for a huge discount. I often purchase a box of those peaches and use the best for this cobbler – I mix the white and yellow varieties as you can see in the photo above. I cut up the really bruised ones, toss our chickens the ugly stuff, and freeze the rest for smoothies throughout the winter.
I’ve brought this dish to several summer parties and someone always wants the recipe. When I serve it to guests at home, grown men weep. Ok, maybe not the weeping part, but people love it. I love it. My husband loves it. Give it a try, the little biscuits are a bit messy, but they firm up in the oven and are so delicious and delicate.
Fresh Peach Cobbler (taken from The Best Recipe by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated)
2 1/2 lbs ripe but firm peaches (6 – 7 medium sized peaches)
1/4 cup sugar (I use Baker’s sugar – it’s finer than regular sugar and everything seems to come out better)
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 TB juice from one lemon
pinch of salt
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 TB plus 1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
5 TB cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/3 plain whole milk yogurt (I use Faje Greek yogurt)
Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat to 425 degrees.
For the filling: Peel peaches (I mince up the peels for our chickens), then halve and pit each. Cut each half into 4 slices. Gently toss peaches and sugar together in a large bowl; let stand for 30 minutes, tossing several times. Drain peaches in colander set over large bowl. Whisk 1/4 cup of the drained juice (I rarely have more 1/4 cup juice, but if you do, save it for a morning smoothie), cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt together in a small bowl. Toss peach juice mixture with peach slices and transfer to 8-inch square glass baking dish. Bake until peaches begin to bubble around edges, about 10 minutes.
For the topping: While peaches are baking, in food processor, pulse flour, 3 TB sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to combine. Scatter butter over and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal – about ten 1-second pulses. Transfer to medium bowl; add yogurt and toss with rubber spatula until cohesive dough is formed. Do not over mix dough or biscuits will be tough. Also – don’t prepare the biscuit dough any sooner than recipe indicates, as the biscuits will not rise properly.
To assemble and bake: After peaches have baked 10 minutes, remove them from the oven. Divide dough into 6 evenly sized but roughly shaped mounds and place on top, spacing them at least 1/2 inch apart (they should not touch – stagger the rows slightly). Sprinkle each mound with a portion of remaining 1 tsp. sugar. Bake until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling, 16 – 18 minutes (I usually do at least 18 minutes in my oven. Less time leaves the bottom of the biscuits a bit gooey). I love serving the cobbler hot, cooling it a few minutes on a wire rack so no one gets burned, with ice cream on top. Leftovers can be reheated in a 350 degree oven until warmed through (but it is best right out of the oven when the biscuits are a bit crunchy outside, delicate and tender inside and the peaches are like a slice of the summer sun.
The recipe makes this sound more difficult than it is, please give it a try and let me know what you think.
Some links from the world wide web that I hope you enjoy:
Nora Ephron’s (a genius writer who was also an acclaimed cook and hostess) favorite peach pie recipe. I have yet to try this, let me know if you do.
A great blog by science writer and frequent National Geographic contributor, David Quammen. I am not very adventurous, but I love reading about people who are. And mules. I love mules.
Spelling mistakes can be funny, especially when they are made by such earnest, sweet and well-meaning kids.
The greatest books of all time. I need to get busy.
A little late, but a great guide to giving kids an old-fashioned summer. I wish today’s kids could still experience this level of freedom and independence.
Also in the “I’m getting as old as dirt” category, a list of skills our grandparents had that are being lost. I remember my failed attempts at sewing lessons and my grandmother’s frustration when trying to teach me to iron really well. Both of my grandmothers were excellent home cooks who never used recipes. I am trying to do my part to preserve the art of cooking from scratch, and passing it on to the kids in my life, like with today’s recipe.
Please tell me your stories and share your recipes!