From Peach Disaster to Peachy Keen

[Previous Suburban Farmgirl, October 2009 – October 2010]

It’s summer and I’m welcoming dinner guests who have just moved to my Southern town so – of course! — I decide to make peach-blackberry cobbler. I once had a whole peach tree in the yard to pull the sweet gold from, but now I have to hit the Farmer’s Market and pay for them. Luckily I do own another key ingredient: a magical pink recipe card on which a friend’s mother, a native North Carolinian, once wrote down for me the best fruit cobbler recipe ever.

My problem is that I am a slipshod follower of recipes and a hopeless improviser.

First, the peaches. I didn’t think to bring my camera to the market (where I also nabbed the year’s best heirloom tomatoes) but here’s my market basket loaded with them:

I was worried they wouldn’t ripen in time (Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon) but the farmer assured me that these would be, especially if I chose the ones that were darker red. They did!

First let me walk you through the basic steps of the recipe. Then I’ll tell you what went wrong…and right!

I call it a magic cobbler because I’d never mixed fruit-dessert ingredients in this order before. Being a native Michigander who knows her apples, I tend to make all my fruit cobblers the same way I whip up apple cobbler (which some folks call a crumble, I think). I pile fruit in a pan and then cobble together oats, nuts, spices, flour, brown sugar and butter to crumble on top. Not this cobbler.

For this Southern-style Fruit Cobbler, first you melt ¼ cup butter right in your baking pan. (Note: this recipe calls for an 8×8 pan but for my dinner guests, I doubled everything.)

Then sift together ½ cup flour, ½ cup sugar, 1 tsp. baking powder.

Add ½ cup milk. Stir. Batter will be thin. Pour batter into the pan with the butter.

NOW add the fruit on top – two to three cups. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes. As it bakes, the batter rises up over the fruit, which gives it a golden crust with luscious sneak peaks of fruit showing through. Yum!

Except….While this foto shows a lovely crust, in close up, some parts also looked suspiciously whitish and doughy. “It’s ruined! What did I do wrong?” I whined as I poked one end.

And now, true confession time: As my 13-year-old approached with a spoon to join me in what she mistook as demolishing a bomb, I shrieked. “Don’t touch it! I have to make it look like it was a good cobbler, not a wreck, for my blog!” (See, I was intending to write about a success story…).

Where did I go wrong? Doubling the recipe? Using sugary peaches instead of sticking to the berries the actual recipe calls for, which make this dish impeccable? (I’ve never made peaches the main fruit. Then again, I never really measure the amount of berries, either.) Not bake it long enough? (I left it in an extra 15 or 20 minutes as is!)

At any rate, I had no time to whip up a replacement. Dessert was going to have to be ice cream with a few of the cut-up leftover peaches, and blueberries. Not a bad fallback, but not cobbler!

After serving up a satisfying summer dinner of green salad with chicken, fruit salad, and parmesan-tomato-basil pasta salad (basil being my other score from the Farmer’s Market), I made a joke about my good intentions with the wouldabeen cobbler.

One of my guests – who grew up in the Peach State (Georgia) — took one look and firmly declared that her mom’s peach cobbler always looks like that, and it would be fine to eat.

So…we did!

And ‘twas tasty!

Today’s cooking lesson:

·      Appearances can be deceiving

·      It is okay to improvise!

·      Don’t ditch a failed dish until you’ve tasted it – or made a joke about it to your guests.

·      Don’t lie in your blog. Telling the whole truth gave me lots more to say!

Thanks, Maura’s mom!

Leave a comment 25 Comments

  1. Rebecca says:

    I’m hungry!!! But I have to tell you, Paula, that this recipe is identical to one passed down to me from a beloved aunt (a definite Southerner.) Actually, hers doubles the amounts of everything, but it’s exactly the same. And guess what? She made it with peaches! In fact, I never really thought of making it any other way until now. The difference was that she would use canned peaches rather than fresh – maybe that changed the consistency enough to eliminate the doughy parts? No idea. She liked to put it in the oven when she served dinner, and it would be ready with no fuss for dessert in half an hour or so – WITH ice cream on top, of course. Thanks for the lovely reminder of her – she passed away just a couple of months ago. My mom (her sister) makes this frequently for potlucks and such – always a hit.

  2. Denise of Oz says:

    Well done!. Looks yummy to me. Unfortunately sometimes the adage of "don’t judge a book by its cover" rings true for us even in the kitchen doesn’t it? Been there too.
    Could always make it into a layered peach cobbler with whipped cream and sliced peaches and berries sprinkled over the top. ( like a trifle)
    Loved this blog entry. Always a joy to read.
    Cheers
    Denise (the girl from Oz)

  3. Debbie says:

    This is a great story of perseverance. You had a plan B and it was not needed. You are truly a farm girl. Good job

  4. SuburbanFarmgirl says:

    Love the whipped cream idea Denise! Ice cream was a partial disguise but that would have helped too!!

  5. Sheryl says:

    I make the same cobbler. : ) And have for years. But I double the ingredients for a 9 x 13 pan. Spray pan with baking spray so edges don’t stick. I use canned sliced peaches when fresh are not in season. My cobbler isn’t doughy, but has a little white showing. : ) It is the charm of the cobbler. It is sooo good hot with or without ice cream!!! Good job!!!

  6. Tammie Haley says:

    I make cobblers, crumblers, and crisps all the time with different kinds of fruits. I use what ever I have fresh at the moment. I just made a peach, blueberry, raspberry and gooseberry cobbler for the family two nights ago. From my experience farm fresh peaches often create this type of doughy pockets. This doesn’t happen if the peaches are not ripe or canned. I feel it is from the extra juice pockets from the large peach slices. The edges of a larger pan will be hotter and cook faster than the middle. My solutions. Next time either make a two smaller batches or don’t worry about it and eat as it is. Both ways come out very yummy!

  7. Debbs4 says:

    Sounds SUPER summery and yummy! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Cathy K says:

    I wonder if it’s just the higher water content of peaches (vs. berries) that made it a bit dough-ier?? Might try adding a bit more flour next time perhaps??? Regardless, it sounds yummy to me and a perfect way to use some of the apricots I’m currently drowning in! Thanks for a great story and recipe!

  9. SuburbanFarmgirl says:

    these theories and tips are fascinating, thx!

  10. Ellen says:

    Thank you so much for the recipe. I made this for several years and then misplaced my recipe when we remodeled our kitchen. Its a wonderful recipe and so quick to put together. I have even used my canned elderberries, apple and blueberries that I have ready to pop the lid and throw in pie shells or cobblers. Thank you again I have missed this easy cobbler.
    Ellen
    Trail, Oregon

  11. Sherri says:

    Being a baker….and making lots of cobblers….I would say just make sure your ingredients are set out before baking, not quite room temp but not right out of the fridge, especially when you are melting butter and then putting "cold" milk on top it may seize the butter and give you "clumps" of dough….consisting of butter , flour, milk etc… anyway, most cobblers will have whitish spots, but not doughy spots…. don’t over bake either. it will make it dry.
    remember baking is a science always follow the recipe, cooking is the art….:) have fun with it!

  12. bonnie ellis says:

    Oh, it looks so yummy! Can’t wait to try it. Thanks for being honest. I’m makin’ it for tonight. Bonnie

  13. KimberlyD says:

    LOL, I once through away a pumpkin cake for it didn’t look like the one in the picture of a magazine I took it from! My mom was upset I tossed it…LOL! I was young, wouldn’t do that now! This Michigander would call what you said was apple cobbler I would call it apple crisp, or blue berry or peach crisp what ever fruit I have on hand. Funny how we give almost the same thing different names. But your peach cobbler looks yummy.

  14. Shery says:

    Paula, It looks GReat in the photo. I’m copying the recipe for my files. We’ll get peaches from Colorado in August…can’t wait. It is almost 10pm and you’ve made me hanker for something sweet. Will have to make a cobbler tomorrow. Thanks!

  15. Joy H says:

    Love your cobbler, looks tasty. But what really caught my eye was your beautiful baking dish. I only have ugly Corning Ware.

  16. SuburbanFarmgirl says:

    Thanks Joy — it’s a piece of Ceramika Artystyzna, made in Poland (and just as easy to clean as Corningware!). The usual pan I made this cobbler in broke in my recent move.

  17. Nancy says:

    I know I am alittle behind…..but someone just gave my fresh jersey peaches…and this was my first thought.."now I can make that southern fruit cobbler"..so i will let you know how it turns out..thanks Paula for sharing this receipe

  18. KimberlyD says:

    After reading your blog I made blueberry cobbler, for I had blueberries on hand, it was yummy! Love the fresh fruit this time of year!

  19. Dolly says:

    Hi,
    Enjoyed your story. I just wanted you to know that I am a South Carolina girl and my grandmother, mother and me have all made cobbler similar to yours. We double your recipe and use self rising flour with no baking powder. It is a tradition in our family with any fruit. You are a wonderful writer…Dolly

  20. bakermom says:

    "My problem is that I am a slipshod follower of recipes and a hopeless improviser"
    Oh my goodness, when I read that it was like I had found someone who understood my dirty little secret. You just put it into words for all of us like you. I just cant leave a recipe alone. Especially once I have made it right. I feel like I’ve "been-there-done-that" and it gives me license to mess with it. This is not always a good thing. God bless my patient family who will eat it anyway. Thank you for your honest article!

  21. bakermom says:

    "My problem is that I am a slipshod follower of recipes and a hopeless improviser"
    Oh my goodness, when I read that it was like I had found someone who understood my dirty little secret. You just put it into words for all of us like you. I just cant leave a recipe alone. Especially once I have made it right. I feel like I’ve "been-there-done-that" and it gives me license to mess with it. This is not always a good thing. God bless my patient family who will eat it anyway. Thank you for your honest article!

  22. Mary says:

    I about cried when I saw your recipe. I was born and raised in North Carolina and know that recipe well; I remember my friend’s grandmother making it, my mother making it, the lady next door making it. Now, years later I see all sorts of cobbler recipes but not this particular one. I remember burning the roof of my mouth on the hot fruit because I couldn’t wait for it to cool, and leftovers made a great breakfast. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Judith says:

    You said you doubled the recipe for the size you were making instead of the 8×8 the recipe called for. Please tell me if the measurements given 1/4 c butter, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 c milk are the amounts for the regular 8×8 size or the doubled size ? ? ? ?
    I can’t wait to make !

  24. Irma Morris says:

    Since we are talking about peaches I would like to add a tip to this. I got this from my dads cousin. When you want to do peaches try this one. Boil a pot of water. Add a tablespoon or two of baking soda to the boiling water. Have a sink with cold water in it. Drop the peaches in the soda water and stir with a wooden spoon for a minute or two and you will see the pealing dissolve. Take the peaches out and put in the cold water and rinse. The peaches come out soft and smooth. You can then cut them up for a pie or canning.

    If you want to can peaches and want nice and firm peaches use cling peaches. They make a firmer canned peach.

    God Bless
    Irma

  25. mayorkarikani says:

    michael casino free customized bingo cards holdem percentage poker texas download online casino slot ported athlon slot a governor of poker serial nba sports gambling game street fighter blood money pas2 cheats download lotto software poker gratis jugar poker pros harrahs hotel casino laughlin little green men slot machine free play card casino downloadable scratch poker cheats ps2 shock wave game zynga scramble game cheats boom casino lawsuit town poker online training tunica casinos mississippi mega lotto philippines seaside artifice poker tables pirates the caribbean 2003 game rapidshare underage online gambling online casino slot machine canada best book poker paragon casino marksville la printable blank bingo card ceramic chip poker king salomon casino cheat poker ps2 tour world casino line roulette download mugen games p square game over album chicago gaming servers 1.49 slot condition ioc games weter in las vegas how to make sprites move flash game free online building city games in n.h poker tournament house interior and exterior free online game trucchi psp grand theft auto liberty city stories casino slot dice plot boris and basic blackjack strategy reviews and opinions n games accepting casino echecks flash instant online most often texas lotto numbers 11.5 500 chip clay poker dakota sioux casino lotto turf shoes legal gambling in the united states wisconsin texas holdem tournaments top poker online sites building houses games online free java games k500 moulin rouge casino royal garden hotel hong casino ok thackerville winstar microgaming flash casino problems using myscene dress up games crystal poker chips mandalay bay hotel casino monte argentario play survive poker casino mesquite nevada oasis resort reno hotel and casino quondam mi lottery winners hitman blood money dl free fr poker poker poker strategy strategy texasholdempoker.info casino lasvegascasinomania.com online roulette cash cab questions game show pda expansion slot cell phone prevatr spise games highest bonus casino online best vegas casino casino casino casino free game line play yourbestonlinecasino.com pornstrip poker vidos every guaranteed lotto time win texas holdem poker online encounter partypoker downloads poker ebook petit manoir du casino how first prize playing online poker car modifing games vegas place machines support yard sale clabes de grand theft auto hellmuth high stakes poker hampton casino stud poker how to play venice night casino pokergamesonline file_links[D:POST_BAZEFULL_CASINO_KEY.txt,2,S – about sports gambling gold spike casino vegas card casino poker carp fishing game ny lotto home page casino ezgamblingebooks.com gambling lotto system morongo indian casino cabazon ca ach casino online blackjack presumption calculator download autonomous mega millions pool mi gov casino las review vegas radisson resort and casino sc informative raffle cheryl olson phone number in grand ledge michigan i spy games free online scholastic casino barriere lotto.ie boom casino town bc sweepstake numbers copte game 2005 california lotto number super winning camel casino chip code ameristar casino colorado motor city casino buffet online casino black jack

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>