Should you find yourself in a precarious situation with too many peaches (a common occurrence in this household where we love summer produce), you must, at once, head over to the kitchen and make cobbler. It’s really an unwritten rule of summer. Make a note, don’t forget it. You can thank me later.
Cobblers are delicious, but beyond that, they are forgiving – they look better imperfect, slightly scraggly. Summertime pie crusts, though I love them beyond words, can be a bit finicky. They love the cold, but summers here tend to be hot, sticky – an enemy of cold-loving crusts. Even though I have pretty much gotten my summer pie production under control, there are times when you don’t have the hours to chill the crust before rolling it out. Sometimes, you up and decide you want to make dessert and there is fruit that needs to be rescued. So on days when I don’t have a pie crust hanging out in the fridge, or if I have simply forgotten to take the crust out of the freezer, cobblers are a beautiful, beautiful thing.
This year, so far, I’ve struck lottery with delicious peaches. My local green grocer is getting some lovely ones from New Jersey and they’re a marvel. Heavy and fragrant, these, these peaches were destined for greatness – and after I ate a few, a messy endeavor over a sink as peach juices dribbled down my arms and dripped everywhere, with each slurpy, hungry bite, it occurred to me that I bought entirely too many peaches for human consumption. Since I’m the only one in this household, apparently, who likes to eat peaches and prefers them to nectarines, either I eat them or they go to waste. Andrew and Russ find their fuzzy skin to be off-putting, and while at first I thought, “More for me,” as time wore on, I realized that several pounds of peaches go bad awfully fast this time of year and I should do something about the spoilage factor.
Near the peaches, I had apricots, also slightly past their prime. Apricots look funny to me – like peaches that never grew up. Of course, their taste is completely different, and a fragrant pot of apricot jam is a knee-weakening thing, I tell you. But these diminutive, slightly wrinkly apricots batted their apricot eyelashes at me, while I sliced the peaches, as if to say, “What about us? We don’t want to go to waste.” Who was I to argue? And more importantly, why would I object? The apricots went in, followed by a cup of first-of-the-season local blueberries. Spiked with a little cherry liqueur, with a tiny kick of the black pepper, and the perfumed lemon zest, the mixed fruit looked to me a revelation.
But I wanted something different from my crust. I added some rye flour to get that toothsome, chewy texture, and a little cornmeal – because peaches and cornmeal are really meant to be joined together in a holy summer matrimony. Instead of usual heavy cream, I whisked together some mascarpone and whole milk until my slurry was uniform and thick.
Cobbler felt slightly celebratory, summery, long-weekendish. And so I decided upon a mini feast for the three of us the night before July Fourth. Grill-less, I wanted to eat something utterly summery, something that, if only for a moment, would make me pretend I had a backyard and a picnic table. And so it was fried chicken, corn on the cob, and cobbler for our supper, each delicious in its own right. We might have been eating inside, but the mood was exceedingly that of a summery outdoor evening. And best of all, our faux-outside picnic successfully allowed us to avoid the mosquitoes and the ants, which normally like to crash any human-hosted party – not too shabby for these city slickers.
Also, it’s SummerFest! And I’m tickled pink to be a part of it. It’s Peach Week here at SummerFest and here are some other peachy dishes for you.
CIA Dropout: Peachy Keen Panna Cotta
What’s Gaby Cooking: Peach and Blueberry Cobbler
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Easy Peach Preserves
Daily Dishin: Fresh Peaches and Cream No-Bake Pie
Cooking with Books: Peaches and Cream Cheesecake
Cooking With My Kid: Peach & Friends Cobbler Pie
White on Rice Couple: Peach Heirloom Tomato Salad
Cooking With Elise: Bruschetta with Grilled Peach Chutney
FN Dish: Summer Fest: Peach Recipes
Taste With The Eyes: Warm White Peach and Blackberry Cobbler
Recipe Girl: Fresh Peach Pie
A Way to Garden: Farm Fresh Peaches Frozen to Perfection
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Fresh Peach Cookies
Sweet Life Bake: Sweet Peach Ancho Chile Salsa
Indian Simmer: Indian Peach Gujiya
Pinch My Salt: Creamy Peach Smoothie
Dixie Chik Cooks: Peach Cobbler
Healthy Eats: 8 Ways You Didn’t Know You Could Eat Peaches
Cooking Channel: Peaches on the Grill
Add a Pinch: My Grandmother’s Peach Cobbler
And Love It Too: Pan Seared Salmon with Fresh Peach Salsa
The Sensitive Epicure: A Summer Peach Tart, Gluten-Free
From My Corner of Saratoga: Double Caramel Peaches
She Wears Many Hats: Peach Wontons
I Am Mommy: Peach Bread
Peach Apricot, and Blueberry Cobbler
Cobbler Crust Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick of very cold butter cut into bits and rechilled for 10 minutes
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup mascarpone, plus more for serving
Cobbler Filling Ingredients:
3 peaches, pitted and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
2 apricots, pitted and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
1 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cherry liqueur (or cassis)
Zest of 1 lemon
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F with the baking rack positioned in the middle. Butter and set aside a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Drop in butter, and using your fingertips, toss the butter pieces with the flour until coated. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly and you have small-sized pieces of butter throughout. Some pieces will be pea-sized; some will be pinto-bean sized – that’s what you’re looking for, texture-wise.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and the mascarpone until well combined. Pour the milk-mascarpone mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with a fork until you get a very soft dough. At this point, you will probably still have dry bits of dough at the bottom of the bowl, which you can incorporate using your hands or a spatula, but err on the side of dough with a few dry bits and pieces than overworked dough. The dough will remain soft and sticky.
4. Roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper until it’s roughly the shape and size of your baking dish – don’t worry about making it exact – this is a rustic dessert and looks better slightly messy. Chill the dough until ready to use – while you prepare the fruit.
5. In a large bowl toss all the filling ingredients and stir gently to mix. Turn the fruit into the buttered dish and top with the biscuit dough. If the dough is too large, just trim the dough around the dish and tuck in the dough sides. Using a small, sharp knife, cut 6 slits around in the dough, just as you would for a pie crust. Using the same knife or a 1-inch round cookie cutter, cut a circle out of the center of the dough. Bake the cobbler 50 to 65 minutes, or until the top is puffed and golden brown and the fruit is bubbling through the center hold. Cool the cobbler on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperatures with a dollop mascarpone, if you like.
Serves 4 to 6.