Confession time today: I like to pretend that all of the South is like Paula Deen’s backyard, with a large white picket gazebo and porch swings and grassy knolls overlooking the ocean and lots and lots of iced tea. Since I’ve never actually been to the Dirty Dirty*, I have no reason to believe that Paula’s South isn’t the real South, and let me tell you, I am 100% enamored by it.
(This is much like my belief that all of the Hamptons must be exactly like Barefoot Contessa’s house, with Adirondack-style lawn furniture and herb gardens and fancypants grocery stores that probably sell bananas for $1 each.)
More important than my fascination with Southern-style locales is my interest in Southern food. Crisp and juicy fried chicken, buttery biscuits, creamy grits, pecan pie — do I need to go on? Southerners, in my very rudimentarily formed opinion, have a much respected appreciation of all things butter, cream and sugar, which is always very welcome in my book.
Sadly this peach cobbler does not have very much of any of those things. Sure there’s a bit of butter, a little sugar, some flour, some spice. But mostly, it’s all about peaches. Fresh, so-juicy-they’ll-stain-your-shirt peaches. Peaches might be my favorite thing to ever come from the South (this is a very close second) so when I saw a recipe for fresh peach cobbler, I got very excited. I’ve never had or made cobbler before, but biscuits + fresh fruit can only be a magical combination.
The recipe seemed pretty foolproof, but being a cobbler novice and really afraid of ruining a half-dozen very delicious peaches, I was a nervous wreck the whole time. And when the batter didn’t seem to set quite as nicely as the photos taken by a sweet pea chef, I started to sweat bullets. (Also, I turned the oven on on a day when it was literally 100 degrees out. Or if you’re the AP, close to the boiling point. Of 212 degrees [#ReporterFail]).
But the end result is pretty darn good. While it was a tad too sweet for me, the fam demolished it, calling the buttery cake-y cobbler a nice foil for the syrupy peaches. I had to omit the lemon juice and zest from the original recipe because I was out of lemons, but I think they would have added a much-needed tartness to the dish. I swapped in brown sugar for some of the white, creating a peachy brown sugar caramel that might actually be the sauce of the gods. People, if you learn nothing else from this post, go make this peachy caramel sauce and then pour that over everything. It gave my favorite salted caramel sauce a serious run for its money.
*I have been told repeatedly by a friend in Nashville that no one actually calls it that there, but it’s too good of a name to not use.
Fresh Peach Cobbler
Adapted from a sweet pea chef
Next time, I’d only use a half cup of sugar each in the batter and the peach syrup, as this cobbler was a little too sweet for me. But if you like your desserts on the sweet side or if your peaches are exceptionally tart, go ahead with the 3/4 cup measurements.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (I again used sifted cake flour, since that’s what I had on hand)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup milk
- 4 cups (about 6 medium) fresh yellow peaches, cut into slices
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1) Preheat oven to 375˚F. Melt the butter in a 2-quart baking dish.
2) Combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and kosher salt in a medium bowl. Add the milk and stir just until dry ingredients are incorporated. Without stirring, pour the batter over the melted butter.
3) Over medium-high heat, heat the brown sugar, peach slices, cinnamon and nutmeg, stirring constantly. Cook until sugar has melted and browned slightly, and all ingredients are fully mixed.
4) Pour the peach mixture over the batter without stirring. (The crust will form over the peaches during the baking process). Bake the cobbler for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Insert a toothpick into the batter to test for doneness.