Like I have to ask…
Fresh picked off the tree, these babies are the Fayette Variety from Mercier Orchards, my favorite place to harvest fresh fruits and vegetables and the occasional trout from local streams in North Georgia.
Recently, I was in Whole Foods and DeKalb Farmers Market in Atlanta and the peaches were hard as rock. While, one can take these and wrap in paper towel and stuff in a brown paper bag to force ripen, they will never have the flavor of peaches right off the tree.
The peaches that are shipped to markets are an inferior variety of peaches grown specifically for shipping and duration. It is quality that counts for me and I don’t settle for less. I may pay more but my palate requires the best. If you have major plans with peaches, it is well worth a trip to an orchard and buy directly from the grower. I’m just fortunate to live near an orchard.
So, besides putting a peach in a bowl of cereal, I like to make a delicious cobbler. Being of the inquisitive mind I researched how cobbler came about. Curious that there is no exact time or place fruit cobbler, peach particularly, became known as same.
One article I read suggested fruit cobbler originated in the West. It was a “fruit dessert covered with a rough biscuit dough”.
I can just envision the 1800′s, women heading west in their Conestoga, stopping by a fruit tree, and after setting up camp for the evening begin the arduous task of preparing and baking over an open fire pit…a fruit cobbler. With further imagination, I would understand why Indians kidnapped women traveling West. What tribe wouldn’t want a woman so ingenuous as one who developed recipes as great as fruit cobbler.
Many start with layering the bottom of a pan with melted butter, then add a flour mixture into the melted butter. Over this peaches are carefully placed into the butter/flour mixture and then baked. For whatever the reason, this recipe just doesn’t sound Southern to me.
I have no idea where I get my recipes from. I see something, jot down ingredients on scratch paper and adjust, make changes to my liking and stick with these notes until I discover something different or more appealing.
No one would be able to decipher my notes and I’ll admit, I go Oops! a lot when I mis-read a measurement. This recipe has to be 20 years old at least. It has been a hit with the fam and anyone cooking for their family knows, you cook and bake to please them.
This doesn’t call for a lot of sugar like most recipes but enough is in the peaches and dough to compliment each other. I like using an iron pot and cooking the peaches first then adding the biscuit dough on top.
Serving six to eight people if you add ice cream
In a large bowl…
12 small peaches, sliced (I leave on the skin)
1/8 cup white sugar
1/8 cup light brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp lemon juice (fresh squeezed, preferably)
2 tsp cornstarch (thickening agent)
Toss all together giving peaches a good coating. Place in an 8 x 8 baking dish or iron pot and bake for 10 minutes in a pre-heated 425° F oven.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 stick cold, unsalted butter
1/4 cup boiling water
Mix together dry ingredients and cut in butter slices until flour is coarse. Add boiling water and mix well forming a moistened dough ball. Scoop dough out with a spoon and drop onto cooked peaches, lining the pan as shown in photo above. Place pan back in the oven and continue to cook 25-30 minutes until the dough is slightly browned.
I have read where some people sprinkle sugar over the dough before baking for added sweetness but I prefer less sugar all around.
One tip I want to share here. Allow the cobbler to cool a good 20-30 minutes before serving. Hot fruit burns, badly. I know it was a mistake by the Chef or staff because I have eaten cobbler from Mary Mac’s Tea Room in Atlanta several times before (cobbler’s to die for), but I was served piping hot peach cobbler. While engrossed in conversation with friends, I didn’t think to check the steam coming from the cobbler and spooned it right into my mouth. I was not the least interested in table manners, I spit it out into my napkin as fast as I could. I had a blister on the roof of my mouth and left there to go to the dentist to have the burn treated. …and no, I did not sue or ask for refund or dental costs. Mistakes happen. I know cooked fruit is hot and I should have checked before taking a bite. Lesson learned.
Now, you gotta admit, this looks heavenly and with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream, Yum is all I can say.