A cobbler belongs to the family of old fashioned homespun desserts that have interesting names like crisps, crumbles, brown Betties and pandowdies. What they all have in common, besides their funny names, is their thick bubbling layer of juicy sweet fruit covered with a crust. The crust does vary by dessert and can be either dropped by spoonfuls on top of the fruit or rolled and cut into biscuits before placing on the fruit.
Either way, you end up with beautiful mounds of golden brown biscuits that are crisp on the outside and soft and flaky on the inside. Some say the biscuits look like cobblestones, which may be where the name cobbler comes from. The other theory is that cobbler comes from the expression “cobble up" which means to put together in a hurry.
Of course, the peaches that lie underneath the crust must be of excellent quality, so make this dessert in the summer, when peaches are perfect…in season, sweet and delicious!
Prep: 20 minutes Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 servings.
- 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 11⁄2 pounds peaches, peeled, halved, pitted, cut into 1⁄2"-thick slices, and cut in half again crosswise (about 4 cups)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Whipped Cream or Vanilla Ice Cream (optional)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1⁄4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1⁄2" cubes
- 2⁄3 cup low-fat buttermilk
• Make the filling: Preheat oven to 350°F and place rack in the center of the oven. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Add peaches and lemon juice; toss to combine. Divide filling evenly among four 8-ounce custard cups (or one 2-quart baking dish); transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
• Make the topping and bake: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, blend in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk; stir just until a dough forms.
• Drop dough onto peaches, using about 2⁄3 cup dough for each custard cup. Sprinkle dough with remaining teaspoon sugar and 1⁄4 tsp. cinnamon (if using). Bake until fruit is bubbling and biscuit topping is golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes; serve warm in custard cups, or scoop four equal servings from baking dish onto a plate or in a bowl.
• Top with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy.
Peach skin/peel removal: Dip the peaches into a large pot of boiling water for about 30 to 60 seconds, depending on the ripeness of the peaches. Transfer the fruit to a large bowl of ice water (this stops the cooking process). The skins should now slip easily off the peaches.
Since peaches can vary in sweetness, use the amount of sugar given in a recipe as a guide.
There are two major types of peaches, Clingstone and Freestone, with many varieties within each classification. The names (Clingstone and Freestone) refer to how easily the flesh of the peach separates from its stone. The Clingstone (available in late spring/early summer), is exactly that: the flesh clings stubbornly to the central stone or pit. Freestones (available in late summer), on the other hand, have a flesh that is easily separated from the stone. Therefore stone/pit removal depends on the type of peach. For Freestones, all you need to do is cut the peach in half, and you can easily pull the stone from the fruit. Simple enough, but the Clingstone is different as you often have to cut the flesh from around the stone.
Leftovers can be covered and stored in the refrigerator and then simply reheated the next day.