He heard the front door slam in her wake. “Damn!” he bellowed, lowering himself to sit on the landing as his leg throbbed in pain. Miss Potts appeared out of nowhere to stand at the bottom of the stairs with her hands on her hips. She pursed her lips and tsked, “Somehow I don’t think peach cobbler is going to fix this one.” – “The Vixen and the Vet” by Katy Regnery
This quintessential American dessert deserves its own name
The word “cobbler” has been used indiscriminately in America to describe any fruit-based, deep-dish dessert. The word cobbler has been used to describe everything from crisps, fruit topped with streusel; to buckles, fruit spooned over a thin cake batter and baked until the batter rises above the fruit; to pandowdy, fruit topped with pie dough.
Such desserts have lost their individuality, having fallen under the umbrella of cobbler. They are delicious desserts in their own right and deserve to remain independent.
What, then, is a cobbler? A cobbler is a sugared and sometimes spiced fruit topped with a sweetened biscuit baked until the fruit is tender and the topping golden with a dumpling-like texture. It’s a quintessential American dessert brought here by pioneers. Chuckwagon cooks made cobbler a popular breakfast on cattle drives. Initially, cooks prepared cobbler from canned or jarred fruit packed in syrup and cooked in Dutch ovens over campfires. Home bakers and restaurants eventually began using fresh or frozen peaches, served as dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream — Blue Bell if in Texas, of course.
This a true cobbler recipe, not to be confused with equally delicious crumbles, crisps, pandowdies and the like.
3 pounds fresh peaches peeled and sliced, or 2 pounds frozen peach slices
Juice of 2 lemons
½ cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons cold butter
2⁄3 cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon almond extract
Heat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl, combine peaches, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Transfer to a 9-inch pan and bake for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the flour, 6 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. Blend in the butter until you get coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk and almond extract. Stir until combined.
Remove pan from the oven and drop batter in large, evenly spaced dollops on top of the peaches. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the batter. Continue baking 30-35 minutes until golden.
Serve with a scoop of Bluebell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.