Classic Peach Cobbler à la mode: fire and ice

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I have to confess, it’s with great temerity that I venture into territory where I have no business being:

Southern cooking.

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.

I happily make peach pie, peach scones, peach muffins… even peach sorbet.

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.

Did you know that by clicking anywhere on this block of pictures, you can enlarge them to full size? Go ahead, give it a try; it’ll work for any of our gridded photos.

Next, the biscuit topping. Whisk or sift together 2 cups Perfect Pastry Blend or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 2 teaspoons sugar.

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.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Classic Peach Cobbler.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. SheenaC

    Oooh., this looks amazingly good! I think you’d make any Southerner proud, PJ. One question: I don’t have pie filling enhancer, but I just bought instant clear jell from KAF. Can you tell me if it would work here? If so, then how much and when do I use it? I have never used it before and will be doing so for the first time. Thanks so much for another great read and recipe!
    This recipe should work with about 3 tablespoons of the ClearJel. ~Amy

    Reply
  2. bsteimle

    mmmmmmm, and Alabama peaches are just coming in. YUM. My usual peach cobbler recipe calls for a touch of cinnamon and uses a biscuit type topping as well, but it is just dropped on top. Would that technique work for this?
    Sure, you can use your drop biscuit recipe with this cobbler! ~Amy

    Reply
  3. gaitedgirl

    One thing you forgot to mention is “cobbler” means different things to different people. Personally, my motto is, “If it tastes good, who cares what it’s called?!” I love your biscuit cobbler – looks so yummy! I want to make it desperately but peaches have yet to come in season here in NC so, alas, I must wait. However, once I get to that point, I have some whole wheat pastry flour at my house. Can I substitute that for the Perfect Pastry Blend? Would I need to add something else to cut through the wheat-y taste??
    You may use the whole wheat pastry flour, but you will need to use about 1 tablespoon more liquid per cup of flour since the whole wheat flour will absorb more liquid than a white flour. If you want to help with the bitterness of the wheat flour, you can use 1/4 cup of orange juice in place of some of the heavy cream. ~Amy

    Reply
  4. anne_meanders

    Yum, this looks wonderful. Might have to make this over the weekend for my dear hubby. We’ve been buying SC peaches for a few weeks now … they have been juicy, sweet-tart, and luscious!

    By the way, did you know that although Georgia is known as the peach state, SC is the #2 producing peach state, behind California? Yup! We live in NC, about 10 minutes from SC, and we do indulge in their fabulous peaches.

    Reply
  5. Jess

    This looks fantastic. I have a surplus of strawberries right now — any reason not to sub them in for the peaches? And a cobbler recipe I once used called for putting the fruit in the oven first, for about 10 minutes, and then adding the biscuits on top. The theory was that the warm fruit would help the biscuits cook all the way through — avoiding an undercooked biscuit dough. What do you think? Was cooking the biscuits through an issue for you?

    Strawberries would work, and that’s a great idea about adding the biscuits to the already warm fruit. Thanks for the tip!

    Reply
  6. lillabit2001

    I moved to Wyoming in February 2011, from Iowa, and in August got to experience fresh, ripe Colorado peaches for the first time since I was a kid in Wisconsin (my grandma always bought cases of Colorado peaches for canning–but she also fed them to us fresh and they were sweet and juicy and wonderful) The Colorado peaches (and for that matter, southern peaches) I had usually been able to buy in Iowa were the peach equivalent of a grocery store tomato in January. Anyway, most of those luscious Colorado peaches trucked up to Wyoming and sold at roadside last summer I made into yummy pies, fresh peach ice cream to die for, and some other great desserts–if they didn’t just get eaten outright. Alas, I have no good peaches left in the freezer to use for this cobbler. But when Colorado peaches appear in the back of trucks this summer . . . I’m looking forward to some peach cobbler!

    Reply
  7. lowneyshopping

    Would your Signature Secrets’ Culinary Thickener work instead of the Pie Thickener? And if so — would be equal amounts? Thanks.
    About 3 1/2-4 tablespoons of the Signature Secrets should be enough for this recipe. ~Amy

    Reply
  8. omaria

    PJ , You know I have not been a baker very long. I just came here after David died and I know how sad every body was . K2Q was one of his great friends. She would be very happy to know you gave credit to him for these biscuits. In his honor I’ll have to try this. Thank you. Ria.

    Reply
  9. "Mia H"

    Beautiful! Beautiful! My guy loves his mom’s and aunts’ peach cobbler. I tried making one once. He claimed it was good, but the look on his face (and amount he ate) suggests otherwise. I’m definitely going to give this a try.

    Any tips on peeling and pitting fresh peaches? Does this bake in a regular cake pan?

    Blanche fresh peaches for easy peeling before pitting. Yes, bake this in a 9″ X 2″ deep cake pan. Frank @ KAF.

    Mia, check out our peach pie blog for step-by-step photos of blanching/peeling peaches. Works like a charm! PJH

    Reply
  10. Julie

    Do you have any suggestions for preparing this ahead of time? I would like to take it to a family gathering, but need to make it the day ahead. Would it hold up well? Love the blog, thank you so much for your hard work and inspiration!

    This will stand a 1 day hold. Rewarm the cobbler, covered, before service. Frank @ KAF

    Reply

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