The first time I ever tried to cook with fresh peaches, I bought them in February. That’s right. February. I was new to cooking and I had no idea or inclination about seasonal eating. I just assumed that if it was in the produce section, it was fair game to buy and use, any time of year. Hmm, not so much.
I brought the peaches home, sliced through them and couldn’t separate the halves to save my life. Once I finally wrestled them apart, I couldn’t get the pit out. I found the whole thing understandably frustrating and went back to frozen peaches.
Fortunately, I have learned a thing or two about food in the past seven or so years, and now I shop the produce section seasonally. August is National Peach Month, so we’re filling up on the sweet fruit with local fresh Jersey peaches. They separate like a dream and you can practically coax the pits out with mere words.
When searching one’s recipe catalog for ways to use up peaches, peach cobbler is a natural choice. It was always a favorite growing up. I make certain to bake it once a year. I’ve never used the same recipe twice, and I seem to always just hunt online for one. This year was no exception, and I found a very satisfactory recipe that I would happily make again.
The cobbler part is a cakey batter, and does not resemble a crumble topping. That’s very important to me. I won’t make a cobbler with stuff like oatmeal in the crust. If I wanted a peach crumble, or crisp, then that’s what I would make! But I wanted peach cobbler, which to me means a cakey topping just browned on top. This recipe delivers.
Source: But Mama, I’m Hungry
2 pounds ripe peaches
¾ cup sugar, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup butter, softened
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
¾ cups flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 375° F.
Peel, halve, and pit the peaches. The easiest way to peel peaches is to drop them in boiling water for 15-20 seconds, then drain on paper towels. Use a vegetable peeler or your hands to slide the skins right off. Slice each half into 3 or 4 wedges.
Combine the peaches, ¼ cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large mixing bowl. Let the fruit stand, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, 5 to 7 minutes.
Make the dough: Cream together the butter and remaining ½ cup sugar in a medium mixing bowl with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and lemon zest until the batter is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and stir until just combined.
Transfer the peaches to a greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Drop the dough in rounded tablespoonfuls over the fruit. Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the crust is golden, 50 to 55 minutes. Let the cobbler cool slightly and serve it warm with vanilla ice cream.