Sunday, August 9, 2009

Magic Peach Cobbler

This very homey and easy dessert has more biscuit than fruit and not much juice. In fact it’s almost more like a mix between biscuit, custard and warm cake. Some of the batter stays “uncooked” and contributes to the pleasing custardy texture. You’ve probably seen recipes like this on the Internet. It’s the one where the biscuit batter starts out on the bottom and then rises to the top. I made 4or 5 versions of it until I found one that worked – in most of them the center didn’t cook, leaving a soupy, doughy interior that wasn’t very pleasant. And if you try to make it with more fruit and more juice, it doesn’t cook well at all. The best recipe was from Paula Deen, but I found hers too sweet and too fatty for my taste (although the Southerners who ate it, loved it). My variation on her recipe is what you’ll find here. It’s still firm and cakey, but it has a little less sugar and butter.

Serves 8

4-6 peaches, to make 4 cups of sliced peaches (see instructions below)
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
Fruitfresh®, or 2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups self-rising flour (or use bleached flour + 3/4 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons baking powder)
1-1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. with a rack in the middle of the oven.

To peel the peaches, heat water in a pot to simmering. Have a bowl of ice water next to the stove, and a large bowl to put the sliced peaches in. Add the Fruitfresh or lemon juice into the ice water. Slide a few of the whole peaches into the simmering water and cook for 30 seconds.


Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peaches to the ice water. While you peel these, add the next batch of peaches to the simmering water. They’ll be done by the time you finish peeling the peaches.


It’s easier and safer to cut the peaches into slices while the skin is still attached (witness my bandaged finger!). Afterwards, you’ll easily be able to slide the skin off of the slices. Once the peaches are sliced and skinned, slide them back into the ice water.


Empty out the simmering water, place the drained peaches into the pot along with 1 cup sugar, and the water. Stir, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Put the butter in a 3-quart baking dish and microwave, covered for 1 minute.
Mix the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the flour. Make a well in the center, and add the buttermilk, gradually drawing the flour mixture into the buttermilk as you mix it. It will be slightly lumpy. Pour the batter over the melted butter. Do not stir. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the peaches on top of the batter. Pour the syrup over the peaches.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until the cobbler is nicely browned and if you poke it a bit, you don’t see any uncooked batter rising up from below.

Let the cobber cool for 45 minutes, and then serve (ice cream is nice!). If making ahead, reheat the cobbler at 300 degrees F. for 15-25 minutes, or until just warm.


This peach cobbler will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator. Reheat it before eating.

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