The Pantry: Peach Cobbler

The peaches are here, y’all.

What do we do with peaches– other than eat ’em straight from the tree, juices dripping all over the place, with smiles on our faces, love in our hearts?

We make cobbler.

Peach cobbler.

This cobbler is about as Southern as it gets.

I’m not talking dry sugar-biscuit topped fruit. I am talking ooey, gooey, cakey, cobblery goodness.  The kind of cobbler that you’re only going to get at the little hole-in-the wall dive that you find in some tiny town in the middle of nowhere.  You know– the one with all the communal tables, dirt parking lot,  and the line out the door and around the block.

Amen and hallelujah.

South Carolina peaches are here, baby.

Oh, and if you don’t know the easy way to peel a mess of peaches for a pie or cobbler, the low down is at the bottom of the recipe.

Peach Cobbler

Ingredients:

Filling-

6-8 medium peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced (approx. 4 cups)

¼ cup sugar

2 tbsp water

1 heaping tsp corn starch

Batter-

6 tbsp very cold butter

¾ cup milk

1 tsp vinegar

¾ cup self-rising flour (don’t use all-purpose for this one)

¼ cup + 2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Before you start making the filling, combine the milk and vinegar for the batter in a glass measuring cup and set it aside.  You can use buttermilk in place of the milk and vinegar, pretty much skipping this step.  I don’t keep buttermilk, though, but we always have milk and vinegar on hand.

3.  Make the peach filling:  In a small saucepan, combine the peaches and ¼ cup of the sugar.  In a small cup, mix the water and the corn starch together and add that to the peach mixture.

Simmer over medium-low heat until peach juices have thickened.  Reduce heat to low while you work.

4.  Place the butter in a 2-2.5 quart casserole dish.

Place the dish in the oven to melt the butter.  You want the pan and the butter to be hot, but not burned.

5.  Get back to the batter.  In a small bowl—I use my 4-cup measuring glass—combine the flour and the final ¼ cup +2 tbsp sugar.

Remember that glass of milk and vinegar.  By now it should be nice and sour and clumpy.  Pour it into the flour and sugar mixture and stir it with a form until smooth.  Stir in the honey, and then stir in the vanilla.

6.  Remove the hot pan and melted butter from the oven (leave the oven turned on), and gently pour the batter straight into the hot butter.

Do not stir it!!!

Using a slotted spoon, strain the peaches and gently set them on top of the batter.  Again, don’t stir!!!

When it bakes, the peaches will sink and the batter will rise to the top.

7.  Using pot holders—don’t be like me, the woman who forgot the dish was hot and now has  blisters on her finger tips—place the dish back into the oven.  You might want to place a baking sheet on the lower rack just in case the batter spills over.  I didn’t have this problem, but if you use too small a casserole dish, you might.

Bake for 35-45 minutes.  My oven takes exactly 45 minutes for this dish.

8.  Remove from the oven, and allow it to cool for about an hour.

You certainly don’t have to wait that long, but it sets up better if you do.

The peaches keep their shape and aren’t mushy.

And the crust has just enough chewiness to it without being tough or dry.  It is also just gooey enough without being overwhelmingly so.

I also made a blackberry peach version–

Blackberry-Peach Cobbler

Follow the directions up to step 6.  After you’ve added the peaches in step 6, just drop about 1/2 pint of blackberries on top.

They don’t sink quite like the peaches, but who cares, right?

I don’t have any final plated shots– it was eaten before I had a chance to take any.

————————————————-

The Easy Way to Peel A Lot of Peaches

You Need:

Many delicious, ripe, undeniably juicy peaches

Knife

Tongs or a heat-proof slotted spoon

A large pot of boiling water

A large bowl of cold water filled with ice

A cutting board or plate

What to Do:

Cut a small X in the bottom of each peach, just barely through the skin.

Drop the peaches 1-3 at a time into the boiling water for approximately 30 seconds.

Remove the peaches from the boiling water,

and immediately submerge them into the ice bath.

Take the peaches out of the ice bath and set them on the cutting board or plate.

Repeat as necessary.

Once all your peaches have taken their respective baths, turn off the stove and start peeling.

Rub your thumbs against the X that you cut on each peach, and the peels should slip right off.

Voila.

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