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The sheaf of recipes had one entitled “Connecticut Peach Cobbler.” This is not that recipe. That recipe was just too fussy. There was sifting, and too many ingredients, and adding a sugary glaze halfway through cooking. And — like this one before I futzed — that peach dessert was tooth-curling sweet. (Is it that peaches used to be less sweet, or was a heavy hand with sugar just the norm fifty years ago?)
Cobblers and crisps should be simple. They are, after all, competing with the alternative of just plain fresh fruit. If you have a perfectly ripe peach, do you want to slice it and serve it . . . or do you want to wrap those slices in crust or sprinkle them with crunchy topping? I’m of two minds, which is why both approaches should be pretty darn easy. Level playing field, you know.
So the fussy cobbler was out, but I had to keep the “Connecticut” name. Grammy spent most of her summers in Connecticut’s northwest corner. That’s where she would have made her cobblers and pies. The peaches would have been local, and dead ripe when she used them. Fried chicken might have been the heart of the meal, counterbalanced with sliced tomatoes sprinkled with salt and sugar.
There’s a New England usefulness to this dish, too: You can use the cobbler topping on four cups of any fruit. I’ve made this with two-thirds peaches, one-third blackberries — very striking. You could try nectarines, which are perfect at the farmers’ market right now, or a plum/nectarine/pear combo, to inch from summer into fall.
For me, a fruit pie or cake means a fruit breakfast the next day. Bear in mind that that’s about as far as you can reach with this: The topping gets pretty soggy. This morning I eked out my last serving of this batch of cobbler by adding a dollop of yogurt, a sprinkling of toasted flax seeds and a big mug of coffee. Divine.
Connecticut Peach Cobbler
- Butter for dish
- 2 pounds (about 4 large) peaches (about 4 cups when peeled and sliced)
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup buttermilk or yogurt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 2- or 2-1/2-quart baking dish.
Peel peaches and slice into the baking dish. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of sugar over the peaches.
Cream butter and 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and buttermilk, and mix well.
Dollop mixture over peaches. Don’t worry about smoothing the topping or getting it to the edges: It will do all that itself in the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until top is lightly browned and fruit is bubbling around the edges. Serve warm.
Photographs and recipe copyright 2010 Garside Group LLC