August 31, 2016

Peach Cobbler

Heads up: I'm writing this from the airport as I wait for my flight back to college. This week has been full of packing, petsitting, and cooking squeezed in between. I have concluded that the most timely recipe to publish right now is for peach cobbler since I get to use the freshest in-season Georgia peaches and smother them in a buttermilk crumble and bake it all in my favorite new mini cast-iron skillet. What makes this dish so good (beyond the best peaches of the year) is that the topping is good for everyone. I know there's a few different camps for cobblers: there's the streusel-y crumble-y people, the biscuit people, and the cake-y people. This topping somehow manages to pull elements from all of them, so you should be pretty excited by now.

To some, the peaches are the most important part. I get it; it's peach cobbler. I toss them in a mixture of sugar, cornstarch, and spices to make a perfectly sweet filling with just a hint of cinnamon and vanilla. It ends up being a bit syrupy but not runny, which is exactly how my family likes it. If you don't add cornstarch, you end up with a peach soup with some carbs on top. To make it a bit fancier, you can add some vanilla bean, but I find that sometimes, especially when it's the height of peach season, it's best to just let the peach flavor shine.

Ok now for the magical topping. My sister prefers a crumble while I love biscuits and cake, though I do like my biscuits as biscuits and not as dessert toppings. To try to satisfy everyone, I started with my basic crumble recipe but added buttermilk to make a sweet biscuit topping. I added just enough buttermilk to make it a bit on the liquid side so I could drop spoonfuls on the peaches. Basically, this dough has the look and flavor of a crumble with the buttermilk tang of a biscuit and the texture of a cake. It really is the best possible combination for all cobbler lovers.

The second part of what makes this cobbler so addictive is the skillet. Like any (kind of) southerner I have a favorite cast-iron skillet. It just so happens that mine is a mini 8" skillet perfect for individual steaks, roasted chicken, and desserts like (surprise!) peach cobbler. It's enough for one very hungry person or 2-3 if you're in the mood for sharing. It's one of those simple desserts that you don't feel too bad about eating since it's mostly fruit, or at least that's what I tell myself.

4 Peaches, Peeled & Sliced
1 T Cornstarch
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Salt
1 T Butter, Cubed

1 1/4 Cups Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
Pinch Salt
4 T Butter, Melted
1/4 Cup Buttermilk

Heat oven to 350F and grease an 8" cast-iron skillet.

For the peaches, whisk the cornstarch, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together. Toss the peaches with the lemon juice and vanilla, then add the dry mixture.

For the topping, whisk the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together. Whisk in the butter, then fold in the buttermilk.

Transfer the peaches to the skillet and top with dollops of the batter. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the peaches are tender; the time varies based on how thick the peaches are sliced and you may need to cover it with foil to prevent the topping from over browning.

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