What with my epic peach and blackberry picking trip to Homestead Farms in Poolesville, Maryland, this month’s baking project had to be desserts that use summer fruits. It was preordained. Careful readers will remember that this was the runner up in my baking project poll back in June.
And, I’ll be honest – even if I hadn’t gone peach picking, I still would have chosen this for my August baking project. July’s project – dinners that won’t heat up your kitchen – was so hit or miss that I needed to return to my roots. I know I’m supposed to like a challenge – it’s good for me, it strengthens my non-dessert skills, it hones my cooking instincts. But not when it results in weird tasting fresh rolls and pathetic salmon sandwiches. Besides, I just turned 27. I’m officially in my late 20s. My psyche is a little, shall we say, fragile.
So let us retreat into the calm, quiet, unchallenging world of desserts with summer fruits. Let us retreat into peach and blackberry cobbler.
I have been craving cobbler ever since I had the peach cobbler at Eatonville, when my friend Meg was down visiting last month. It’s an odd craving, since I usually don’t think of cobbler as particularly craveable. Milk chocolate? Craveable. Mint chocolate chip ice cream? Craveable. Really good panna cotta? Craveable. But cobbler? It seems so practical – a cheap way to deal with an excess of summer fruit, just like the very situation I was facing.
Still, there it was. A cobbler craving.
Cobbler, for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of eating one, is kind of like pie for people who can’t make pie crust. It’s a deep-dish, baked fruit dessert, topped with a thick coating of biscuits. Like pie, cobbler thrives on the interplay of textures and flavors – the crisp and savory biscuit topping contrasts against the soft, sweet-tart baked fruit. But biscuits are easier to put together than pie dough, and there’s no difficult and potentially scary “rolling out of the pie crust” (although, to be honest, rolling out pie crust isn’t all that hard. I think that all this “pie crust is difficult” talk is merely propaganda from the pre-made pie crust industry). Because the biscuits sit on top of the fruit, you also avoid the most vexing pie problem of all – the soggy bottom crust (that’s the real hard part about pie, I think).
This cobbler was all of those good things – and more. Without going on and on about how much better fresh, local, hand picked fruit is (I assume you know by now), I will simply say that it was the excellent peaches and blackberries that really took this cobbler over the top. The filling was a perfect combination of sweet and tart, the biscuits were thick and buttery, and just a little crunchy around the edges. The cobbler craving? Entirely satisfied.
I used this cobbler recipe, but I omitted a half cup of sugar from the filling – I really wanted the flavors of the fruit to shine through. Also, there was almost too much biscuit topping – I made this in a pie pan and the biscuits kind of exploded – they expanded over the edge of the pan, causing the filling to spill over as well, and making quite a mess. Depending on the type of pan you’re using and the depth of your biscuit craving, you could definitely cut the biscuit topping recipe in half.
Also, I neglected to serve this à la mode, but it would really be delicious with a scoop of vanilla or ginger ice cream. A dollop of freshly whipped cream or a dribble of crème anglaise are acceptable substitutes.
Get the recipe here: Blackberry and Peach Cobbler, from Epicurious.