Recipes: Peach Cobbler and Peach Crisp

Dear Offspring,

You have always loved peaches. But not just any peach. Donut peaches. I blame your Grandpa Lim. He spoils you.

Costco has peaches galore right about now and we are going peach crazy. This is the second carton we’ve bought in a week, as if grasping at the tailwind of summer.

On Saturday, Mom made a peach cobbler. Tonight, it was a peach crisp. What’s the difference, you might ask? Here, I quote Dorie Greenspan (‘Baking-From My Home to Yours’):

On a technical level, crisps are the easiest to make. The fruit is… toppped with a crisp mix. The mix always has butter and sugar and something to bind the two together, sometimes just flour, but often flour and oatmeal…

When you come to… cobblers, you tiptoe into the realm of dough…  warm bubbling fruit softens the bottom of the biscuit and a generous amount of baking powder in the dough just about guarantees an impressive rise. It’s another recipe that’s good no matter what.

You prefer a gooey cobbler, like me. Dad prefers a crisp. More pudding for all, I say. It’s peachy. I only made the crisp because one of your classroom projects (an Indian drum) required an empty can of oatmeal, so Mom has a lot of oatmeal to get through.

Love from Mom

Peach Cobbler

by Maida Heatter, ‘Book of Great American Desserts’

A.

6 medium-large just-ripe peaches

2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups water

B.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp double-acting baking powder

Pinch of salt

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

3/4 cup milk

*****

Preheat oven at 375F.

Generously butter a shallow ovenproof baking dish with at least a 2-quart capacity. I use Grandma Lim’s vintage Corningware and Pam baking spray here.

A. Peel the peaches, remove the pits, and slice them coarse. Place the peaches in a heavy saucepan with the sugar, butter and water. Stir briefly over moderately high heat just until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove and set aside. Note that it will be appropriately liquidy.*

B. To make the dough, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the small bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter with the vanilla and almond extracts. Beat in the sugar to mix. On low speed, add half the milk, then half the sifted ingredients, the balance of the milk, and the balance of the dry ingredients. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a silicone (Heatter says “rubber”, which delightfully reveals how old this book is!) spatula as necessary, beating only until mixed.

To assemble the cobbler, pour the batter into the buttered baking dish and spread it smooth. With a large slotted spoon place the prepared peaches (A) evenly over the batter. If there’s room, pour the peach syrup over the fruit and put in the preheated oven; if space is tight, put the dish in the oven before pouring.

Place a baking sheet below the baking dish to catch any juice that WILL bubble over during baking. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 325F and bake for 25 more minutes. The dough will rise and bubble through the peach mixture, soaking up all the peach syrup in the process. That’s why I prefer Heatter’s recipe to more modern ones which involve topping the filling with the dough. I love watching the magic happen through the oven door!

Serve immediately with vanilla ice-cream.

(No pics of the cobbler as it was gobbled up quickly by everyone.)

Peach Crisp

by Maida Heatter, ‘Book of Great American Desserts’

A.

6 medium-large just-ripe peaches

1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

B.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

3/4 cup old-fashioned oats

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cinnamon

3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

*****

Preheat oven at 375F.

Generously butter a shallow ovenproof baking dish with at least a 2-quart capacity. I use Grandma Lim’s vintage Corningware and Pam baking spray here.

A. Peel the peaches, remove the pits, and slice them coarse. In a large bowl, drizzle  the lemon juice and vanilla over the peaches and toss gently to mix.

B. To make the crisp mix, blend with a fork the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix in the chopped nuts, then pour over the melted butter. Using the fork again, stir the mixture until it is thoroughly moistened.

To assemble the crisp, spoon half the crisp mix into the buttered baking dish and pat it down lightly to form a crust. Place the peach filling (A) on top, spreading it evenly. Scatter the remaining crisp mix evenly over the filling.

Bake the crisp for 45 minutes. Serve immediately with vanilla ice-cream.

* Heatter blanches and peels the peaches, but I’ve always just peeled them with a knife; less washing up!

Toulouse sausage and Lima bean stew tonight! Alas, like Alexander, you hate Lima beans.


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