Stay with me, please, for a minute here while I
rant go on a long and winding tangent about cobbler.
I wrote in my last and panicky post about not having taken full advantage, yet, of the diminishing bounty of summer. Peach cobbler was one of my regrets, so, needless to say, I’ve been making it, somewhat obsessively, this past week.
I made the first one, a classic cobbler, which shall be known here as Great Gatsby Peach Cobbler, for Barb’s “Great Gatsby Book Club Party”. Not all of our book clubs are parties, most are civilized Sunday afternoon affairs, but this one was indeed a Saturday night party. And, Barb, well, I’m not exaggerating when I say that this girl can throw a party (and has one elegant pad to host it in I might add).
Nine local members, and our Cleveland member (the charm and loveliness that is Evelyn!) were present and there was lots of catching up indeed on this first chilly Saturday evening in September.
There were also highballs and gin and tonics, smoked salmon canapés and deviled eggs, beef tenderloin with a delectably tangy homemade horseradish sauce and rosemary mashed potatoes, all meant to one way or another evoke the 1920’s. And then there was the Peach Cobbler, maybe not so elegant but most definitely an American classic. Like Gatsby himself. And if I may further tangent (of course I may, this is my blog!), Barb’s choice of The Great Gatsby was another one of those book club magical coincidences I’ve been mentioning. I purchased it at Shakespeare and Company in July, having no idea that Barb was just about to pick it, because I wanted to reread it before the Baz Luhrmann/Leonardo DiCaprio remake was released (now moved to next summer so they can “perfect the soundtrack”, does that sound fishy?), which is incidentally why Barb picked it. Great minds think alike. Even if you don’t have a book club, a Great Gatsby party would be a fun change of pace indeed. Try it.
Back to cobbler. While the peach cobbler was certainly enjoyed by all, I realized that we had just done had the peachy dessert to end all peachy desserts at Wendy’s book club three weeks earlier. An oversight on my part when I announced what I would be bringing. The very next day, I was paging through a month-old Bon Appétit (my cookbooks are getting jealous) and came upon this recipe, for a Blueberry Drop Biscuit Cobbler. Gosh darnit! Why didn’t I make that one for book club? Barb graciously reminded me that we had salad with blueberries so that may have been a tad too many blueberries for one evening.
Which leads me to…cooking with Barb night. Friday night. Chez elle. The menu was sort of a “farewell to summer” theme. I did an Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta and the aforementioned cobbler (we still had the ice cream leftover from book club-bonus!) as well as an Avocado Kale and Arugula Salad fresh from my dad’s garden. Barb did a Corn Risotto, the Pioneer Woman’s Rosemary Dinner Rolls,and we grilled some Apple Calvados Chicken Sausages (the menu’s one nod to fall). Maeve brought the Skinny Girl Rosé which to our astonishment is just rosé. A decent one, but nothin’ “skinny” about it (tangent within a tangent alert!). Which frankly is fine by us but led us to wax on about Bethany Frankel’s brilliant marketing skills.
Which leads me to tonight. While both versions of the cobbler were worth eating any day of the week, I still wanted perfection. So I combined the two ideas and made the ultimate Peach Cobbler with Drop Biscuit Crumble Topping. I was on a mission indeed and finally arrived where I wanted to be. There, I’m done with cobbler for the year. I can finally rest easy. And you, too, can relax now. This post is finally over (but make yo’self some cobbler before summer’s over too!)
Serves 8. Adapted from 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know, by Cindy Levine 2011, and Bon Appétit, August 2012.
For the filling
- 8-10 ripe peaches, halved, pitted and cut into 1/8 inch slices
- 1/3 cup sugar plus 1 Tbsp. for dusting
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400°.
Mix ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
For the biscuit crumb topping
- 1 & 1/2 cups flour
- 3 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 & 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. crème fraîche (or sour cream)
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add butter and mix lightly with your fingers until dough resembles a coarse biscuit mixture. Fold in crème fraîche or sour cream and knead about 5-7 times until the mixture forms a loose ball. You may need to use your hands just to fold in the thick cream but avoid overmixing, which would make the dough tough.
Place peach mixture in a 8″ x 8″ casserole dish. Tear smallish pieces from the biscuit dough and scatter over top of peaches. You do not need to cover the peaches completely.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until biscuit topping is brown and cooked through. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. sugar. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes. Serve with ice cream.
For the Great Gatsby Classic topping, follow all directions above for peach filling and recipe below for the topping. Use a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature.
In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add buttermilk (or milk) and melted (cooled) butter. Mix until just combined and spread in dollops over the peach topping. Bake for 25-35 minutes in a 400° oven, or until topping is golden and set. Sprinkle 1 tsp. sugar on top.
Cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Bon appétit tout le monde!
ps. And why don’t you reread The Great Gatsby while you’re at it. It’s always a joy to revisit a classic!