Sunday, August 9, 2009

Peach Cobbler

My landlords got a big box of peaches from the farm this week and unloaded a bunch on me, so naturally I signed into Cook's Illustrated and searched for "peaches". They started with one of their archetypal problem statements:
"Bad peaches, soggy biscuits, and syrupy filling were just three of the problems we had to solve in resurrecting this simple summer dessert."
My peaches were a bit overripe, so I blanched them to speed up the peeling step, then I drew out some moisture by soaking them in sugar for half an hour. Combining a portion of the peach juice with some cornstarch or arrowroot and lemon juice thickens the syrup and brightens the flavor of the peaches. I made some very simple biscuits and placed them on the peaches after they had baked for about 10 minutes. I'm not the biggest fruit dessert fan, but I loved this cobbler. It's easy and flexible. (I had to use Greek yogurt, because I didn't have any whole-milk yogurt on hand, and it worked fine.) Next time I'll have some vanilla ice cream.

  • 2 1/2 pounds peaches , ripe but firm (6 to 7 medium)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (1 3/4 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • pinch table salt

    Biscuit Topping
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold), cut into cubes
  • 1/3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Cube the butter and hold in the freezer while preparing the peaches and biscuits.
  2. For the filling: Peel peaches, then halve and pit each. Using small spoon, scoop out and discard dark flesh from pit area. Cut each half into wedges. Gently toss peaches and sugar together in large bowl; let stand for 30 minutes, tossing several times. Drain peaches in colander set over large bowl. Whisk 1/4 cup of drained juice (discard extra), cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt together in small bowl. Toss peach juice mixture with peach slices and transfer to 8-inch-square glass baking dish. Bake until peaches begin to bubble around edges, about 10 minutes.
  3. For the topping: While peaches are baking, in food processor, pulse flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine. Scatter butter over and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about ten 1-second pulses. Transfer to medium bowl; add yogurt and toss with rubber spatula until cohesive dough is formed. (Don't overmix dough or biscuits will be tough.) Break dough into 6 evenly sized but roughly shaped mounds and set aside.
  4. To assemble and bake: After peaches have baked 10 minutes, remove peaches from oven and place dough mounds on top, spacing them at least 1/2 inch apart (they should not touch). Sprinkle each mound with portion of remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. Bake until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling, 16 to 18 minutes. Cool cobbler on wire rack until warm, about 20 minutes; serve.

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