Monday, June 27, 2011

Peach Cobbler





Sometimes I'm at a loss what to name a recipe. Recipes such as this are now called "cobblers." But, traditionally, a cobbler is a large quantity of baked fruit with spoonfuls of a biscuit-like dough randomly placed on top. This uses a thin pancake-like batter rather than a dough and the order is reversed: the fruit is placed on top. But then it sinks to the bottom. The end result is a kind of an "upside-down cake" without being turned upside down. Does that makes sense?

Whatever one names it, the consensus is in the taste. My neighbor recently voted it "five oinks." The edges become chewy like a brownie and the cake-like interior with the fresh peaches and flaky cinnamon top is the stuff dessert heavens are made of.

It's important to cook your peaches until a thick syrup is reached. If your syrup is too runny, your cake make not rise as well. You'll be tempted to dig into this as soon as it leaves the oven. Don't. Allow to cool a bit. Honestly, it's even better the next day, if there's any left.

If peaches were flowers, they'd look something like this. Nothing says summer
like black-eyed Susans. Unless it's biting into a ripe peach.


Peaches:
4-5 fresh, firm peaches
1/4 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)


Batter:
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Several grates of fresh nutmeg

Topping:
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 - 1 teaspoon cinnamon



Assembly:
1, 2 quart baking dish (10 x 7 x 2)
1/2 cup butter


To slice the peaches: Using a sharp paring knife, slice all around the peach and then across its equator so it's cut into quarters. Pull the quarters away from pit and slice each quarter in half and then just peel with the knife. If peaches are "cling free" it's a pretty easy process.

Place slices in a small bowl. Sprinkle with the brown sugar Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day the peaches will have made a lovely syrup. You should have about 1 - 1.5 cups of peaches (around 16 ounces).

Preheat oven to 400 F. Have your batter ingredients measured and ready to go.

Place peaches in a small pan and bring to a slow boil over medium heat adding about 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. Cook until juices thicken to a kind of syrup. Remove from heat.

Place butter in baking dish and place in oven to melt. You want the dish hot, so don't skip this step.

Prepare the batter. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl whisking until smooth.

Remove dish from oven and immediately pour in the batter. The melted butter will be displaced and seek the edges. Don't worry. Now, using a slotted spoon, strategically place the hot peaches evenly over the batter. You won't use all the syrupy juice, but don't throw it out ... use to drizzle over portions of finished cake, if desired.




Sprinkle with sugar-cinnamon mixture. Return to oven.


Bake for 25 minutes. The top will have crusted over.


Allow to cool to at least "warm" before cutting and serving. 



Notes: This is a sweet cobbler. You could sub Splenda for some of the sugar. I also like for the butter just to begin to brown a tad for the extra flavor before adding the batter.


The corner and edge pieces are my favorite!