I can’t get enough of summer fruit. Every day I gorge on melons and berries, knowing that their days in my farmers’ market and garden are limited. It’s peaches, though, that not only make me know it’s summer but that also take me back to my roots. There simply is nothing in the world like a ripe, fresh, juicy peach. I eat a lot of them fresh, but it’s cobbler that makes me think of family.
Some day, I’ll part with my Georgia grandmother’s recipe for peach cobbler, which in fact is a deep-dish pie with a crunchy crust that you dish out with a big spoon. Some day, I said. Not today. Today I’ll give you the quicker, easier but still incredibly tasty version that I make for our smaller, slightly more health-conscious family. We’re going to make it in a cast-iron skillet for ideal caramelization. The topping, based on part of my grandmother’s cobbler pastry recipe, is amazingly simple (equal parts butter, sugar, and flour), and you will no doubt find its formula useful for sprinkling on muffins and coffee cake as well as cobblers.
For an 8-inch cast iron skillet you’ll need:
- 4-5 ripe, large peaches
- 2 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
- 2 tablespoons (or less) sugar
- 1/3 cup cold butter
- 1/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- pinch or 2 or 3 of nutmeg
For a 10-inch cast iron skillet (or deep pie pan) you’ll need:
- 6-8 ripe, large peaches
- 3 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
- 3 tablespoons (or less) sugar
- 1/2 cup cold butter
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- pinch or 2 or 3 of nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Begin by peeling the peaches and removing the pits. I do this by slicing the peaches in quarters first. Then slice the peaches into 8 pieces each. Toss with the first sugar and flour listed. Put them in your cast iron skillet or pie pan after making sure that your baking vessel is well-buttered.
Next cut the chilled butter into the larger quantities of sugar and flour using a pastry cutter or just a fork. Just be sure to keep the butter cold; we’re not making cookie dough, and the resulting mixture should retain discrete tiny pieces of butter encapsulated by flour and sugar. Sprinkle in the nutmeg. Crumble the butter mixture on top of the peaches and bake at 375 degrees F for 30-45 minutes, until the peaches are bubbly and the top is golden brown and crusty. Serve with a small scoop of real vanilla ice cream on top. Mmmmmmm.
Peach-blueberry cobbler: Add fresh or frozen blueberries on top of the peaches.
Peach-bramble cobbler: Add blackberries on top of the peaches. I think this is my favorite variation!
Blackberry cobbler: You got it–go all blackberries. Try a pinch of allspice in the blackberries or a splash of lime juice and/or zest.
Blueberry cobbler (for Leigh): You may want a bottom pie crust for this variation.
Apple cobbler: Use apples (a bit more thinly sliced than the peaches) with cinnamon mixed in with the apples and cinnamon and a tiny pinch of allspice with the nutmeg in the topping. You could also add cranberries for a really festive touch, but first chop them and toss them with more sugar, as they are very tart.
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