Thursday, June 27, 2013

Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

A fantastic summer dessert. 
I really don't have much of a sweet-tooth, so while I bake a lot, it's almost always bread, pretzels, biscuits, etc. I am also pretty bad at baking--baking requires recipe-adherence discipline, and I just don't stick to recipes. I've had some notorious baking disasters--like the time I forgot the eggs in pecan pies for Adam's birthday. I realized it about 20 minutes into the baking so I just added the eggs late to the bubbling caramel. So it was a sweet, scrambled egg pie. Needless to say, that shit was super gross.

Cobblers are an exception to my sweet-baking reticence! I love making cobblers in the summer--the sticky, soft fruit tastes more intensely peachy (or plummy, or berry-y) than eating the fruit raw. Plus, you don't really need a recipe--it's more like a formula--and they are nearly impossible to mess up.

Basic cobbler formula 
You need a full pie-dish worth of stone fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots) OR berries or apples, or any combination. If using stone fruit, apples or strawberries, thinly slice. (Technically you should peel these, but I never bother). Small berries like blueberries or blackberries can be left whole.
Add to the fruit 2 TB of white sugar, 1 TB of cornstarch, 2 TB of lemon juice.
Then, make the crumb, biscuit or pastry topping, and bake at 400 for 25 minutes.

Personally, I like a nut-based pastry top. Here is what I used, a pecan-based pastry. This makes enough for two cobblers.

Blend the following in a food processor:
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 stick butter
3/4 cup flour
tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
Dribble of cold water

Blitz everything but the water in the food processor. It will look like gravel or sand, depending on how dry the air in your kitchen is. Dribble in the water until it forms a coherent ball (this will only take about 2 tablespoons).
Then, pinch the pastry into little leaves and place over the fruit. Done!
If you are only making one cobber, the other half of the pastry freezes well. Leave it in the freezer for your next cobbler!

Fruit filling. I used five peaches and a small crate of blueberries.

Before baking

All done!

I love to use blueberries in cobblers because they explode during baking, creating a rich, purple fruit syrup all through the bottom.

I plan to make a lot of cobblers this summer with different fruit combinations. We have a plum tree in the backyard--but so far it's produced a single, rock-hard, midget of a plum. My home-grown cobbler dreams my not come to fruition. Heh. Fruition--get it?

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