Thursday, July 15, 2010

peach blueberry cobbler

cornmeal drop biscuits, cobbler

I am having the worst luck with peaches this summer. Without fail, every week I am lured in by the most fragrant peaches I’ve ever sniffed at the market, and without fail, the day after they come home with me, they’re mush. Sweet, peachy mush. To eat one requires hovering over a sink, and then a mop and a shirt change anyway and no, sadly, I am not speaking of the baby’s messes. These are not bad problems to have; “Woe is me! My peaches are too juicy!” doesn’t exactly make a room nod in sympathy but the week I made the mistake of letting the peaches go a whole 48 hours uneaten the only thing left to with the misshapen lot was to bake them.

these peaches had better days
naked peaches

Like I said, not bad problems to have. These Jersey peaches are a fuzzy lot so although I’m not always particular about peach skin, I demanded it come off before I eat them. Fortunately, this is as simple as a little “X” in the bottom and a quick trip through boiling water, and naked peaches will slip-n-slide all over your counter. (See above: mop and new shirt.) And then, when I realized I had a whole leftover pint of blueberries, I forced them to face the same bubbling dark brown sugar fate as the peaches. With a cornmeal biscuit on top. I don’t think they minded meeting their end this way, do you?

blueberries + sliced peaches

mixy mixy

I was amused by how much a 2/3-1/3 peach-blueberry ratio baked up to taste almost entirely like a blueberry dessert, with some peaches thrown in for balance. Not that we minded; I think gurgling purple with orange accents might be what’s missing from our summer wardrobe dessert repertoire, don’t you think?

ready to bake
blueberry peach cobbler

One year ago: Best Birthday Cake
Two years ago: Chocolate Sorbet
Three years ago: Red Bean Chili

Peach Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler
Adapted from The Lee Bros. delightful Simple Fresh Southern

Mostly, I used the Lee Bros. for their cornmeal biscuit recipe because once I read “cornmeal biscuit” I pretty much couldn’t imagine using anything else. The filling is pretty different from theirs; less sugar, some thickener, less cinnamon and the addition of blueberries, of course. If you, like me, think that there can never be enough biscuit topping, go ahead and double what is suggested below.

Feel free to also adjust the balance of fruit; for a less-dominating blueberry flavor, use 1 cup less and 1 cup more peaches; you could also use mixed stone fruits, but only if you share with me.

For the fruit
1 1/2 (about 4 cups) pounds peaches, pitted and cut into slices*
1 pint (about 2 cups) blueberries, rinsed and dried
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the biscuit topping
3/4 cup (3 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fine stone-ground cornmeal (yellow or white)
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).Toss peaches with blueberries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt in the bottom of a 2-quart ovenproof dish.

Make the biscuit dough: Stir together the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into the dry mixture with your fingertips, a fork or a pastry blender. Stir in buttermilk with a rubber spatula until a wet, tacky dough comes together.

Plop spoonfuls of the biscuit dough over the filling; don’t worry about covering entire surface. Bake until the cobbler’s syrup is bubbly and the biscuit tops are browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool slightly and scoop it into bowls. Top with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, of if you’re having an accidental run-in with this cobbler before noon, plain yogurt.

* Want to peel your peaches? Here’s how: Cut a small “x” in the bottom of each peach. Dip them in boiling water for 30 seconds, and the skins will slide right off.


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