I have to confess, it’s with great temerity that I venture into territory where I have no business being:
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Southern food. My brother’s lived in rural Georgia for over 30 years, and his wife is a superior cook of all things Southern, from collard greens with bacon, to cornbread, barbecue, okra, black-eyed peas, and mac & cheese.
And biscuits. Tender, high-rising biscuits, dripping with butter and honey or stuffed with bits of smoky ham.
If the Great Baker in the Sky were to come on down here and raise the question right now, “Who knows how to bake biscuits?”, this New England gal would timidly raise her hand.
But a great biscuit baker I’m not.
Nor do I claim to know anything at all about cobbler, which to me is a quintessential Southern dessert.
Especially peach cobbler; and especially in Georgia, the Peach State.
Thus my hesitation about baking peach cobbler. It’s foreign territory; dare I go there?
In the end, the call of peaches proved too much; I LOVE LOVE LOVE peaches, in all their guises.
Fresh peaches are the most beautiful fruit imaginable. A perfectly ripe peach, with its compelling combination of sweet/tart and juicy/firm, is simply heavenly.
So why not peach cobbler?
I mean, if you’re scared of biscuits, what better way to hide any potential faux pas than in a panful of simmering peaches?
Luckily, I remembered a biscuit I’d made and enjoyed a few years ago, and decided to try it again, atop peaches. It was the perfect choice – no surprise, since the recipe came from a Southern baker, David Lee.
Our online baking forum, bakingcircle.com, was graced almost from the beginning by David, a baker who loved sharing his recipes, tips, and baking lore, and was known for his calm, friendly online presence.
David has sadly passed away, but his cream biscuits — which we use in this recipe — live on.
Thanks, again, David. You’re the inspiration behind this Classic Peach Cobbler.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ round pan.
Combine the following in a mixing bowl:
2 pounds fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced (4 heaping cups); or 2 pounds frozen sliced peaches, thawed
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup King Arthur Pie Filling Enhancer
1/8 teaspoon salt
If you don’t have any Pie Filling Enhancer – well, give it a try sometime! This combination of extra-fine sugar, thickener, and ascorbic acid improves both the flavor of the fruit, and provides the necessary thickening.
But for the time being, go ahead and replace it with 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with the sugar before adding to the fruit. If you do make this substitution, increase the sugar in the recipe to 3/4 cup.
What’s the difference between our all-purpose flour, and our Perfect Pastry Blend? The Blend is a “soft,” lower protein flour: 10.3%, compared to our AP flour’s 11.7%. It’ll make biscuits that are slightly more tender.
Stir in 1 to 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, to moisten the dough thoroughly. You’ll probably use about 1 cup in the summer, 1 1/4 cups in the winter, and 1 cup + 2 tablespoons at the turn of the seasons. You want to be able to gather the dough together, squeeze it, and have it hang together, without dry bits falling off.
Pat the dough into a lightly greased 9″ round pan. Use a 2″ round biscuit cutter to cut as many biscuits as you can, leaving them in the pan.
Turn the pan over onto a lightly greased or lightly floured surface, rapping it a few times to make the dough fall out. Lift off the pan, pick up the cut biscuits, and space them atop the peach filling.
You’ll have leftover biscuit dough; shape it into additional biscuits to bake separately, if desired.
Brush the biscuits with milk or butter, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.
Bake the cobbler for 45 to 50 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the biscuits are golden brown.
Remove the cobbler from the oven, and let it rest at room temperature for about 20 to 30 minutes before serving; this allows the filling to set somewhat.
Don’t worry, it’ll still be warm when you serve it.
Scoop the cobbler into serving dishes, including a biscuit with each serving. Top with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
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