Last weekend when I dropped the pups off at my mother-in-law’s, I walked into boxes of peaches on the counter. Sunset-hued, freshly picked. She was canning them, an annual Quinn family tradition. I helped out for a few moments before Kevin and I had to get on the road to the beach, but was lucky enough to grab a few finished cans as well as an extra box of fresh peaches when I picked the pups up on Sunday.
The peaches were sweet as candy, so I ate several right away. You know the kind of peaches where juice drips down your chin and maybe flies on your new silk WHITE blouse when you take that first bite? Yes, these were just that. I put others into smoothies and, realizing I didn’t even put a dent into my peach stash– I made 3 test-recipe peach cobblers. Results were tasty. And eye-opening.
Up until this past week, let’s call it The Week of Cobbler, I only made the classic a few times. Each cobbler was good, but certainly nothing I could rave about. In my recipe testing this week, I learned that I have a few peach cobbler standards:
- The peach syrup has to be rich and sweet, but not overly sweet.
- The peaches shouldn’t be too flimsy and definitely chunks not slices.
- Chunks are best.
- Lemon juice is key to help balance the sweet peaches and sugar.
- Minimal cornstarch to thicken the peaches, but not too much to weigh them down.
- Definitely a crisp biscuit topping with a moist interior.
- But not too crisp! And not undercooked!
- The biscuit should have a beautiful butter flavor. Bland ruins it all.
- Golden sheen and cinnamon-sugar on that biscuit, by the way.
- VANILLA ICE CREAM.
It sounds like a tall order, no? Well we can do it. And it’s much easier than you would ever imagine.
First order of business: peel the peaches and cut into chunks. Peach chunks easily fit on your spoon and they don’t become as flimsy as peach slices.
Use brown sugar in the peach filling. There’s extra flavor that way. Only about 1/4 cup of brown sugar– anything more and the already sweet peaches begin to lose their flavor. Because all you’ll taste is sugar! 1/4 cup of brown sugar just keeps it real. Also: cornstarch for a little thickening, lemon juice to cut some sweetness, vanilla because vanilla!, cinnamon & nutmeg for flavor. Not too much of either spice because we really want the peach flavor to shine. And it’s not fall yet. Fall is when we’ll go reeeeeally crazy with cinnamon and nutmeg. Just you wait.
Pre-bake the peaches for just about 10 minutes before the biscuit topping makes an appearance. I do this so the peaches can slightly soften because when we go to bake the entire peach cobbler– topping and all– the peaches won’t get as much attention and could end up being a little too firm.
The biscuit topping is made from super basic ingredients like flour, sugar, baking powder & soda, butter, and milk. That’s how easy it is. Mix all of those dry ingredients together, then cut in the cold butter and stir in the milk. We’re using buttermilk today for an ultra rich biscuit.
Now basically you’ll just take portions of the biscuit dough and form little patties. Place it all on top; some peaches can be exposed underneath. It might not look pretty, but it will smell phenomenal. And taste even better. Then, brush the top with an egg wash. Why? For that golden sheen.
This is optional, but you can sprinkle the top with cinnamon-sugar. I recommend it.
I know there are a few different ways to make cobbler– and definitely some very passionate peach cobbler eaters! There’s the cake-like variety that I believe starts out with batter on the bottom which floats up to the top. Then there is the sweetened biscuit variety. Of course it’s all personal preference, but I definitely gravitate towards the biscuit. There’s more crunchy texture and the whole thing tastes wholesome and rich, especially when the warm sticky peach syrup and vanilla ice cream cross paths.
This biscuit-topped peach cobbler is rustic, comforting, and extremely simple without overcomplicating things. The peaches are obviously the star of the show and the whole dessert won’t leave you with a toothache. It’s pure, fresh, summer goodness.
Thanks for the peaches mama Quinn! Update: she told me the variety we enjoyed is Red Haven. They are honestly some of the best peaches I’ve ever tasted.
Fresh Peach Cobbler
- 8-9 medium peaches, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks (about 10 cups)
- 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon (7g) cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Buttermilk Biscuit Topping
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, cold1
- egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk or buttermilk
- optional: 2 Tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9x13 inch pan.
- Make the filling: In a large bowl, stir the peach chunks, brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together until thoroughly combined. Spoon filling into prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside as you prepare the topping. Keep oven on.
- Make the topping: Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter. Using a pastry cutter (the one I own) or two forks, cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal (pea-sized bits). A pastry cutter makes this step very easy and quick! While slowly stirring, slowly drizzle in the buttermilk. Mix until evenly combined. Take handfuls of dough and gently flatten out. Place dough all over the top of the peach filling. It doesn't need to be perfect or look pretty-- some peach filling can be showing.
- Brush the top of the biscuit dough with egg wash, then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar if using.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until lightly browned and biscuit topping is cooked through. (Stick a toothpick into the biscuit topping, if it comes out clean-- it is cooked through and the cobbler is done.) Set the pan on a wire rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Make-ahead tip: This is one of those recipes that should be prepared and baked right away. The biscuit topping won't rise as much if it is not immediately baked. You can, however, freeze the prepared peach filling for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator before using. It will be quite juicy, but that's not a bad thing in cobbler! You can also freeze the baked cobbler for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm in the oven before serving.
- If you don't have buttermilk, you can add 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough regular cold milk (whole milk is recommended) to make 1/2 cup. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. This soured milk can be used in the recipe instead of buttermilk.
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Even though it’s 150% easier than pie, I’m totally counting this towards pie goals. I made a goal to bake a few pies every month through September. I’m going strong and hope a few of you have conquered any pie fears! So far this summer:
- Apple slab pie
- Brown sugar peach pie
- Peanut butter pie
- Banana cream pie from the comment & bake challenge 🙂
- Earlier this summer: blueberry pie!
Brainstorming some September pie recipe ideas. Thoughts?