I’ve got this thing against apple pie. All pies, for that matter. It just seems strange to see photographs of perfect slices of pie. If the crust was truly flaky and perfect it wouldn’t look like that. I’m sorry, but it just wouldn’t. A perfect slice of pie falls apart as soon as it’s taken out of the pan. People need to realize that just because a dessert isn’t presented in neat slices doesn’t mean it’s not delicious. It’s the same thing with cobblers. This cobbler? Delicious.
Here’s the thing with cobbler: it can be ridiculously simple to make and taste great. What sets cobblers apart though are the extra steps you can take to make them amazing. Sweet, juicy, and ripe summer peaches that drip down your chin are enticing for making peach cobbler but they should be avoided. That’s right – do not use them! While great for eating out of hand, overly juicy peaches actually lead to a mushy peach cobbler that doesn’t have slices of peaches, but peach mush. You shouldn’t have to settle for mush, even if it’s peach mush. Actually, peach mush doesn’t so bad…
Barely ripe peaches that give just slightly when pressed are the best for cobblers since they keep their shape even after being baked. They release their juices near the end of baking, not in the beginning. This leaves you with peaches that aren’t mushy but instead have a slight, natural bite that perfectly complements the soft, light cobbles. To prevent your peaches from over ripening, just place them in the fridge.
Removing the peaches’ skin is important. If you forget, you’ll be left with tough pieces of skin in your cobbler. There’s a lot of instructions online on how to peel peaches. They’re all pretty much the same. You cut an X into the bottom of the skin of the peach, add the peaches to boiling water for about thirty seconds, place in cold water to stop the cooking process, and then peel the skin away with your fingers. The problem is that if your peach loses its skin so easily it’s much too ripe! I peel peaches for peach cobbler with a vegetable peeler or you can even use a knife. It’s much faster, despite what a lot of guides might tell you, to just use a knife (water doesn’t boil instantly, you know). Plus, it safeguards against mushy peaches.
Using the proper spices is important too. Cinnamon is often used in peach cobbler, but you can always add another level of flavour by adding in a bit of nutmeg. However, the secret ingredient for a heavenly cobbler is mace. Now, don’t go running out to your nearby medieval weapons store. We’re talking about the spice, not the pepper spray or the weapon with a heavy head on a solid shaft used to bludgeon opponents. Here’s a tip: your dinner guests do not like being bludgeoned (this however is just an assumption, in some cases it may in fact be necessary to bring the other type of mace as well). Mace is the loose, red covering of the nutmeg fruit. I highly suggest purchasing some mace for cobbler making – it will give your cobblers a distinctive and scrumptious flavour. You can also add a touch of bourbon or whiskey for a special treat.
I think what really makes a cobbler stand out though is the cobbles (the dough on top). Often so much time is spent on the peaches that the cobbles are neglected. Never neglect the cobbles! The cobbles should be loved. Love the cobbles!
To express my love of the cobbles, I love to add sour cream or even crème fraîche (the slightly less sour and amazingly creamy French cousin of sour cream) to the cobbles instead of just milk because it gives them a much lighter texture. You can also add herbs like basil or thyme to your cobbles – both are great with peaches. If you want to add some crunch, consider sliced almonds.
There’s also one more secret that will make your family and friends obey your every command for another spoonful: peach pits. Peach pits shouldn’t just be thrown out. Peach pits have amazing flavour that they can give your cobbler. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the truly delicious part of the peach is the pit and not the juicy exterior.
Alright – maybe that’s pushing it. Nevertheless, if you steep the peach pits in the syrup the peach flavour in your cobbler multiplies. You’d be surprised how much of a difference the peach pits can make, and they’re going to be surprised you didn’t just throw them out.
- 5 peaches, peeled and sliced (do not discard the pits)
- 1 tablespoon (30g) butter
- 5 peach pits
- ¾ cups (140g) brown sugar
- 1 cup (250ml) water
- 1 tablespoon (9g) cornstarch
- ⅛ teaspoon (1g) salt
- ¼ teaspoon mace
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) whiskey
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons (61g) butter
- 1 cup + 5 tablespoons (160g) all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons (28g) cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons (41g) sugar
- 1½ teaspoons (6g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (3g) salt
- ½ teaspoon basil
- 6 tablespoons (92g) cold, unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 4 tablespoons (58g) sour cream
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) milk
- ¼ cup (46g) brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons (61g) cold, unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- Butter a 9-inch round pan or a similar sized cast iron skillet and then place the peaches in the pan.
- Combine all the ingredients except the lemon juice and butter in a saucepan and then cook over medium heat until thick. Stir in the lemon juice and butter and cool to room temperature. Take out the pits and then pour over the peaches.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, salt, and basil. Using two forks, two knifes, or a pastry cutter cut in the butter into the flour until the butter becomes about the size of small peas. Mix in the sour cream and milk, being careful to not over mix. Sprinkle the cobbles over the peaches, or if you prefer more uniformly shaped cobbles use two teaspoons to place them all over the peaches. Sprinkle the brown sugar all over the cobbles. Then, place a small piece of butter on each cobble. Bake for around forty minutes, or until the cobbles are golden brown and the syrup is bubbling.