At this time of year, there is nothing I enjoy more than spending my weekend mornings browsing the stalls of the farmers’ markets and sampling the bounty of the summer harvest. Right now, I am hooked on the luscious peaches piled high. Whether it is a yellow peach or a white, each bite delivers sweetness that would rival even the most decadent desserts. With juice dripping from my hands, my tour of the market usually concludes with enough peach samples to equal at least two whole fruits.
When the peaches do find their way into my bag and ultimately a place on my kitchen table, their scent permeates the air and they scream for some creative preparation. This cobbler, adapted from Gourmet‘s September 1999 issue, is so simple, requiring little effort and few tools. Essentially a fruit potpie, this baked dessert tops sliced peaches with spoonfuls of an easy-to-make batter. As the dish bakes, the globs of batter spread out, covering the fruit in a blanket reminiscent of a cobbled street.
Although turning on the oven may be the last thing one wants to do in the heat of the season, the cobbler’s combination of juicy peaches, butter, sugar and cinnamon makes for the perfect summer dessert.
Bethany Imondi, a junior studying Government and English at Georgetown University, would choose a fresh fruit dessert over something with chocolate or frosting any day.
Adapted from Gourmet, September 1999
You can easily substitute nectarines for the peaches in this recipe.
For the filling:
4 large peaches, cut into thin wedges
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
For the topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed
Preheat oven to 425º F.
Toss sliced peaches with sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch in a 1.5 quart nonreactive baking dish and bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes.
As peaches cook, prepare the topping, and set a small pot of water to boil.
Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Blend in cold butter using your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in 1/4 cup of boiling water until just combined.
Remove peaches from oven and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Bake in the middle of the oven until golden, about 25 minutes. (Topping will spread as it bakes.)
Serve warm or at room temperature topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.