July 17, 2009

Oh, for a peach

Seeing that stone fruit season is upon us, in the midst of a hot summer, and also seeing a pile of peaches looking ever so pretty in a bowl in the kitchen, the desire to bake some sort of peach number hit me very strongly last weekend. I was eyeing a couple of recipes from two different magazines Saturday evening, a spiced peach pie and a peach cobbler. Debating over which to bake, I remembered a carton of leftover buttermilk in the fridge, which quickly put a stop to my indecision. Peach cobbler it was. This recipe caught my attention for two reasons: one, buttermilk in the biscuit topping, and two, vanilla bean in the peach mixture. Buttermilk adds a very moist quality to any baked good, and vanilla beans add a depth of flavor you just can't achieve with vanilla extract.

So, I baked it, but one recipe was not enough, since the cobbler didn't last for more than a day. So much for leftovers. Maybe I'll try it with blackberries soon, because eating that cobbler made me happy, all juicy and warm and comforting. A simple peach cobbler is always good, but the addition of the vanilla bean made the overall flavor very satisfying. After taking it out of the oven, I let the cobbler cool for a while before digging in, just until it was still warm, pleasant enough to eat in warm weather. I would recommend eating cobblers at that temperature any time you bake one, regardless of the temperature outside. Something about eating juicy baked peaches with a slightly gooey biscuit topping while it's warm makes it that much tastier. The warmth really brings out the peachy flavor, especially when you use good peaches. I would recommend getting local peaches from a farmer's market or stand, if you can. They just taste better.

Peach Cobbler
Adapted from Victoria Magazine, July/August 2009

6 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, cut into thin wedges
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped, seeds reserved
¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, divided
2 ½ Tbsp granulated sugar
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup buttermilk
6 Tbsp unsalted butter-
       3 Tbsp melted
       3 Tbsp softened, cut into bits
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 425° F. Lightly spray a 9x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the peaches, brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, vanilla bean seeds, and 2 tablespoons flour, and toss until evenly coated. Pour into the prepared baking dish, and bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate large bowl, whisk together the remaining ¾ cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla.

When the peaches finish baking, remove from the oven and dot with the softened butter bits. Spoon the buttermilk batter over the peaches. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

1 comment:

  1. Nice photo of the peaches. Too bad I didn't get any of the cobbler; the stuff you bake tastes so good that leftovers never last long. ~ Michael