Simple and classic peach cobbler

peach cobbler
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It’s been a couple years since I made any kind of fruit cobbler. So when we were faced with a fridge overflowing with beautiful Red Haven peaches, I knew it was time. Cobblers exist in many forms; this is the good-old fashioned biscuit-topped style. Both the biscuits and fruit are lightly sweetened so you can enjoy it with a big scoop of ice cream, as God intended.

I usually make cobblers / crumbles / crisps when I crave a fruit-forward dessert but don’t have the time or energy to commit to a pie. To that end, I pack a pie’s worth of fruit into this peach cobbler — two whole pounds, weighed after pitting. My favorite peaches to bake with are ripe but firm — soft ones will turn to mush, and I like my filling to still retain a little bite. Save the extra juicy ones to eat over the sink.

Oh yeah — I don’t peel the peaches. You can if you want, but the skins don’t bother me. I don’t find them leathery or tough, especially after they cook down. If anything, the skins add some welcome texture and more vibrant color. Just make sure to scrub them clean before slicing into wedges.

I also take the speedy approach to biscuits and just chop them into square-ish pieces with a knife. No wastage, no re-patting dough together. Fast, easy, homey is the name of the game here. So enough talking; let’s make some peach cobbler.

peach cobbler pre-bake
peach cobbler side view

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Baker’s notes:

  • You know I love some whole grain flour in my fruity bakes; this time I used spelt in the biscuits. Feel free to sub in something like einkorn, kamut, or whole wheat here; or use more all-purpose if you don’t have whole-grain on hand.
  • Feel free to sub in other fruits for the peaches. Berries, nectarines, plums would all be beautiful here without need for adjustment. If your fruits are particularly juicy you might want to add a little more cornstarch; but cobbler filling needn’t be too set — I prefer it a little runny so it’ll soak into the biscuits better.

Simple and classic peach cobbler

Serves 8

Ingredients:

For the biscuits:
  • 175g all-purpose flour
  • 40g spelt flour (or substitute more all-purpose)
  • 40g granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal)
  • 86g (6T) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 80g buttermilk, cold (regular milk should work here too)
  • 80g heavy cream, cold, plus more for brushing
  • Turbinado or coarse sugar, for garnish
For the peach filling:
  • 900g (~2 lbs) firm but ripe peaches, cut into eighths (weighed after pitting)
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • A pinch each of kosher salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
  • 15g (2T) cornstarch 
  • Juice of 1/2 a medium lemon

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400F with a rack in the middle.

Start by making the biscuit dough. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Scatter the cold butter pieces over the top and, using your fingers or a pastry blender, cut it into the flour mixture until the butter pieces are roughly the size of peas.

Whisk together the buttermilk and cream. Drizzle the mixture over the top of the dry ingredients and gently fold it into the flour mixture using a fork or flexible spatula. Continue to fold the dough onto itself a few times, just until the dough holds together but is still a bit shaggy with a few dry spots. If the dough seems overly dry and won’t come together, drizzle in extra buttermilk or cream 1 tsp at a time, just until it forms a rough mass. Do not overwork the dough.

Turn the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and fold it gently a few times until cohesive. Use your hands to pat it into a rectangle about 1-inch (2.5-cm) thick. Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the dough into quarters. Stack the pieces on top of each other, sandwiching any stray floury bits between the layers, then pat into a rectangle about an inch thick. Slide the dough still on the parchment onto a sheet tray or plate and refrigerate until well-chilled, about 20 minutes (or up to 2 hours — if longer than 20 minutes, cover with plastic wrap).

While the dough is chilling, prepare the peach filling. Place the peach wedges in a large bowl. Whisk together the sugar, spices, salt, and cornstarch and pour over the peaches. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top. Gently stir to combine. Scrape the filling into a 2-quart ovenproof dish (I used an 11×7 oval casserole similar to this Staub one).

Remove the biscuit dough from the fridge. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 square-ish pieces. Arrange the biscuits on top of the peaches, leaving at least an inch between pieces. Brush the tops with cream and sprinkle generously (I mean it, don’t be stingy) with coarse sugar.

Bake until the biscuits are golden brown and the filling is bubbling vigorously, about 30-40 minutes. If the biscuits are browning too quickly, tent with foil partway through baking. Let cobbler cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Cobbler is best served the day it’s baked (preferably still a little warm), but leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Rewarm before serving.

Related recipes:

peach cobbler with ice cream

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