Oct 7, 2009

Peach Cobbler

My first recipe was chock full of firsts. First time making cobbler. First time making any kind of pie crust. And get this – first time using a peeler. Whoa. Maybe I shouldn’t have admitted to that.

The first obstacle was finding peaches. They must have just gone out of season, because a few weeks ago they were overflowing at the grocer, and Sunday only a small bin remained. But they looked fine, so whatever.

At home I set an autumn mood with a little classical music and a few spiced candles, grabbed my apron, put on a pot of my favorite tea and started peeling away, filling the sink with golden piles of petal-like peels. But once I picked up the second peach, I confirmed that yes – peaches are definitely out of season. Hidden under its deceivingly blemish-free skin was a ball of brown mush. Same with the next. And the next. How can they sell these? Luckily I picked up extra, so I miraculously ended up with exactly 6 cups in my bowl. And about 4 cups down the drain.

Slightly disheartened, I headed into more bad news. My baking dish was too small (first phone call to mom: she says use two dishes), my food processor was too tiny to make the dough (Second phone call to mom: she says mix it by hand) and my teapot had been sitting on the wrong burner the entire time. And I really could have used a cup at that point.

But the real trouble started somewhere around where the recipe said, “Do not form into a ball”. So as I was forming the dough into a ball, I thought to myself, “hmm, I may be messing this up.” And when plastic wrap was introduced into the process, everything went down the drain.

You’re supposed to roll out the dough between two sheets, but I cut them too small, causing the ball of dough to bubble out the sides. So I had to keep adding more and more clingy pieces of plastic wrap while forming plastic surgery on my breaking dough, and of course that’s exactly when the teapot finally started to whistle. Ten sheets and some very soar forearms later, I draped the deformed dough over frozen pizza boxes and slammed the freezer door. Plastic wrap, you are on my hit list.

When the dough was chilled, I placed it in the dishes, spooned in peaches, folded over the dough and topped with brown sugar and almonds. Then I stared in confusion at the cookbook. How can I brush egg over dough that’s covered with piles of brown sugar and almonds? (Almost called mom here – wish I would have.) Instead I brushed away, making a gooey mess. But it didn’t seem right. I checked the book again and saw a word I hadn’t noticed before: “mixture”.

I realized that if I’d used the correct dish, or if I’d known what a cobbler looked like, I wouldn’t have covered the peaches completely with dough. So the sugar/pecans would have just topped the “mixture”, and the egg would have just topped the dough. Ahhh, the learning process. Just a simple peach cobbler, yet with Amelia Bedelia running my brain, I found a way to mess it up. I stuck them in the oven and drowned my sorrows with a cup of (cold) tea.

After dinner we tried the cobbler and…drum roll please…it was perfect. I added a scoop of vanilla ice cream, cozied up with my husband on the couch, and guess what, no one cared if the almonds were on top instead of inside, or if the crust was clumsily shaped. It tasted like homemade cobbler. And I felt like a cook.

Peach Cobbler
Yield: 10 servings

2  cups  all-purpose flour
1  tablespoon  granulated sugar
1/4  teaspoon  salt
6  tablespoons  chilled butter, cut into 6 pieces
6  tablespoons  ice water
Cooking spray
6  cups  sliced peeled peaches (about 3 3/4 pounds)
3/4  cup  packed brown sugar, divided
2 1/2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
1  tablespoon  vanilla extract
1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
1/4  cup  slivered almonds
1  large egg
1  teaspoon  water
1  tablespoon  granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Place flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor; pulse 2 to 3 times. Add butter pieces; pulse 10 times or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With processor on, slowly add ice water through food chute, processing just until combined (do not form a ball).

3. Gently press dough into a 4-inch circle. Slightly overlap 2 lengths of plastic wrap on a slightly damp surface. Place dough on plastic wrap; cover with 2 additional lengths of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, into a 15 x 13-inch rectangle. Place in freezer 5 minutes or until plastic wrap can be easily removed; remove top sheets. Fit dough, uncovered side down, into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray, allowing dough to extend over edges ; remove remaining plastic wrap.

4. Combine peaches, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons flour, vanilla, and cinnamon in a large bowl; toss gently. Spoon into prepared dish; fold edges of dough over peach mixture. Sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar over mixture; sprinkle with almonds.

5. Combine egg and water in a small bowl. Brush egg mixture over dough; sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until filling is bubbly and crust is lightly browned. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 302 (27% from fat), Fat: 9.2g (sat 1.6g,mono 4.3g,poly 2.7g), Protein: 4.5g, Carbohydrate: 51.5g, Fiber: 2.8g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Iron: 1.9mg, Sodium: 149mg, Calcium: 39mg / Source: Cooking Light: Complete Cookbook, 2008.


Emily said...

i concur! doesn't matter what it looks like as long as it tastes good!

p.s. brown spots on peaches to be cooked don't matter! just means they're bruised or extra ripe, and are probably sweeter than the rest of the peach. (obviously if it's rotten, that's another thing, but brown or bruised is great for cooking!)

Janet L. Nowlin said...

Yay, I love your writing style (of course) and that you referenced Amelia Bedelia... Just don't make any of her chocolate "chip" cookies, ok? :)

Rachel said...

Thanks for the tip! Some of these had to be rotten though. Very mushy. Mushy as in, when I was "slicing" them, I was actually creating paste.

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