Don’t get deluded, we’re still on the road. After indulging ourselves in fabulous food in California (including a Yountville adventure…) and a few thousand miles later – haunted accompanied by serious roadfood – we finally reached our last destination, Colorado Springs. We were fortunate to meet dear fellow food bloggers along the trip and are packed with countless stories and delicious recipes, more upon our return home next week. For the time being, luckily our dear friend Stephanie agreed to jump in and share her mom’s delicious peach cobbler recipe with us, the one we savoured during a fantastic family dinner a couple of years ago. Need to stop now, because it’s breakfast time and a very tempting frangrance of pecan pancakes with fresh raspberries lies in the air…
On a balmy night in mid-August, we sat on our patio with friends enjoying food and wine of the season. For the “contorni” course, I served a late-summer rendition of Caprese salad — all credit to my friend Mary Beth — substituting fresh peaches for tomatoes. As we relished the aged balsamico dripping off the peaches, creamy mozzarella, and freshly picked basil from the garden, our friend David warned that we should be aware of the dangers of becoming stone fruit fanatics (David’s brother has apparently been found in front of the kitchen sink with a blank stare and juices from the first peach of the season running down his chin). I confess to have enjoyed a mango that way myself, one found fallen from the tree, having warmed to full ripeness in the Costa Rican sun. I highly recommend adding this to the “things to do before I die” list, if you haven’t already. Let the juices run!
In Colorado, local stone fruits such as cherries, apricots, nectarines, and plums can be found at markets as early as July. But it isn’t until mid- to late-August that Colorado’s orchard queen, the “Palisade Peach,” fulfills its calling. Colorado stone fruit fanatics believe it’s Palisade’s high altitude mesa and semi-desert climate that make the local fruit a superior peach. At an elevation upwards of 1417 meters (or 4650 feet), Palisade enjoys a growing season with intense sunny days and cool, dry nights, which provide an ideal balance of sugars and acid. There are many varieties of peaches grown in Palisade, but the free stones are always in high demand because they make eating and cooking with them so very easy.
Sadly, we missed the family pilgrimage to hand-pick Palisade peaches this August, but we were able to find plenty of ripe bushels at our local produce market. Now the storehouse (my refrigerator and freezer) is full as we head into autumn, and I have big plans for these peaches, namely, my mom’s peach cobbler. Cobblers are as American as can be (originally a quick and “cobbled” together version of fruit pie) and a simple and delicious way to enjoy seasonal fruit. As you are soon to discover, there are few things that compare to the aroma of a peach cobbler baking on a cool autumn evening.
Note: Let there be cobbler for everyone! For the best cobbler, use peaches that have been picked ripe, and if your geography doesn’t allow for peaches, find a local fruit in season to substitute. Also, to make the process go quickly, blanch peaches in boiling water for just one minute before peeling.
Sift together dry ingredients, excluding almonds. Cut in butter until you have coarse crumbs. Combine milk and egg and then add to dry mixture, stirring just until moistened.
Combine cornstarch, cinnamon, brown sugar and water in saucepan and cook until thickened. Add the sliced peaches, lemon juice, and butter. Cook about five to ten minutes, until peaches are hot and juice is bubbling. Pour into an 8-inch (approximately) round or square baking dish. Spoon biscuit topping over the peaches in about 6 biscuits/mounds (don’t panic- they will not cover the peach mixture, but will grow in the oven). Scatter topping with sliced almonds. Bake at 400F (205C) for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Serve hot out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
Mama Rita's Peach Cobbler
Recipe source: Rita Salazar Dickerson
Prep. time ~20 min & baking ~ 20 min.
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup/~70g brown sugar
1/2 cup/125ml water
5-6 cups sliced, peeled peaches (~5-6 medium peaches)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp/10-15g butter
1 cup/130g flour
2 tbsp/~25g sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup/50g butter
1/4 cup/50ml milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
small handful (~30g) of thinly sliced almonds (reserve to top before baking)
to serve: preferably hot from the oven with vanilla ice cream