I always think of peach cobbler, or any sweet fruit cobbler really, as a flavor of Americana. Not just visions of Granny on the farm rocking on her wrap- around- porch chair, but a taste that reflects a history of the people and places all around our great USA.
Stories with fruit cobblers were in many of my childhood books reflecting this. Pioneers past, women of great endurance who after hard morning chores then prepared full course lunches for those working the land, finishing off a meal with fresh seasonal fruits topped and baked off with sweetened crusts, cobblers.
There were ranch stories of the old west whose meals might finish with fresh fruits mixed with sugar topped with a sweet crust in a cast iron pan and cooked until bubbling over an open fire, cobbler.
In another era of early Americana there were fancy city ladies along the east coast vying for status, husbands, or the furthered politics thereof where besides needlepoint, stationery, and the art of hosting and accepting invitations, paid considerable attention to proper food preparations including the likes of yes, fruit cobblers, and pie baking, as well as instructing their home cooks to do so, particularly for the parade of formal ladies luncheons.
The peach cobbler also appeared outside of my favorite childhood books in Aunt Betty’s kitchen where each summer she would rapidly pit, peel, and sugar some large peaches whose ripe scent was sweet before baking, and then without further ado would eye the recipe, a worn, dogged eared piece of paper, while deftly mixing together a sweet crust, plopping it all atop the arranged peaches before baking. She probably added a little ‘doop de doop de do’ song to go along with it too because as I’ve shared before, that was one of Aunt Betty’s happy songs with me and she sang it. All. The. Time. Before our circle dance around the kitchen.
Peach Cobblers are tasty fare for family reunions or pot lucks all across America. Knowing that my family in the Tampa, Florida area are all OK now, unscathed by natural disaster, I long for a family reunion. The warmth of a big ole bear hug, the laughter in the moment, sharing the comfort of a peach cobbler.
And I dream of endless bountiful Potlucks of Americana shared with fellow citizens around our country those in Houston through Florida and on to other states whose people need that comfort now too. The comfort even in a simple peach cobbler, one of those special dishes of past that seems to provide the helpless onlooker a way to say, you are loved and its all going to be OK.
We tend to think of the ‘good old days’ as simpler times, and though perhaps in some ways they were, still, no generation, ever, from the early pioneers, to the old west, to the fancy ladies of the east coast, in Aunt Betty’s own life, to our world today, has been spared its challenges, occurrences as war, disease, or natural disasters.
And yet, from generation to generation no matter what the challenge to the strength of our citizenry, like the old recipe of peach cobbler, somehow individuals, families, communities, the people rise up and something sweet is always come from it.
Perhaps it’s that the cream brings the whole ball of dough together.
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
- 6 yellow peaches, halved, pitted with any shell pit scraped out, peeled, sliced into half inch slices
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon Cointreau liquor
- For the Crust:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- couple pinches coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) chilled butter cut into small bits
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Grease a glass 8 or 10 inch casserole or gratin dish (approximate size) with the softened butter, leave any remaining dabs of butter on the bottom of the dish. Mix together the cornstarch, sugars, cinnamon in a medium sized glass bowl. Tumble in the peaches, sprinkle over the Cointreau then gently fold together with the dry ingredients, set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare the Crust. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Drop in the chilled butter bits and resume pulsing around a dozen times or more until crust is a bit crumbly. Drizzle in the heavy cream pulsing until the dough just comes together in a ball. Remove dough.
- Pour peaches into the buttered baking dish, top with spoonfuls of dough all around. Set cobbler onto a baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven, until dough is golden brown and cooked through. Let cobbler cool to warm before serving. Top with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.
This cobbler is best using just ripe or slightly under ripe peaches so the peaches keep their shape during baking.