Peach season is dwindling down to its last few days, so I wanted to be sure to drop an old-fashioned Peach Cobbler on you. My version is topped with a quickly-laminated dough covering a brown sugar-bourbon filling. When it bubbles, it’s done. There’s nothing easier, or sweeter, than that. Seriously, the most difficult part about this recipe is deciding whether or not to eat it a la mode or straight up.
What is Peach Cobbler?
The short explanation: it’s a pie without a bottom crust.
The chef in me wants to give you a bit more detail, though. A cobbler is a “clump cake”. It’s one of a variety of desserts that are known for being deliciously simple, yet unattractive. Slumps, dumps, betties, buckles, and crisps are also clump cakes. All are a very easy way to use up this season’s fruit to create a sweet dessert with minimal fuss.
Cobblers are supposed to be ugly. They don’t need a fancy lattice crust or an intricate design. If a cobbler looks perfect, you did it wrong.
The most common way to serve this dessert is a la mode. A generous scoop of vanilla frozen custard is all it needs to be perfect, if that. I, myself, am perfectly happy eating my peach cobbler naked, but to each their own.
What’s the difference between a pie and a cobbler?
As I mentioned before, the only difference between a cobbler and a pie is the lack of a bottom crust on the former. While pies are sometimes made without top crusts, they all have a bottom crust. If they don’t, they’re not pies, they’re cobblers. Not too difficult to remember, right?
Besides the lack of a bottom crust, there really is no difference between the two. Well, so long as we’re talking fruit pies. I’ve never actually heard of a custard cobbler, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Anyway, both, cobblers and fruit pies, have a thick, syrupy filling made from fresh or frozen fruits. Some people use canned peaches, but I’m not a fan of canned anything. Both pies and cobblers are baked until bubbly, as well. As a result, the thickener used in the filling creates this viscous liquid that helps bind the fruit filling together after the dessert has cooled.
To close: the difference between a cobbler and a pie is one has a bottom crust and the other doesn’t. Thanks for coming to my TedTalk.
What ingredients go into a Peach Cobbler?
PEACHES!! Fresh peaches are what I prefer to use in this recipe. Frozen peaches are my second option. Because I don’t like the texture of canned fruits, I avoid them at all costs. Since there’s always fresh fruit available, I’d rather switch the type of cobbler I’m making than use canned fruits. Truth be told, canned peaches are already softer than fresh, as a result, you’re more likely to end up with a mushy cobbler after baking. Never has that been appealing- at least not to me.
The cobbler topping requires all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, a bit of sugar, butter, and cream. For the peach filling, you need ground cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg, as well as bourbon (optional), vanilla, cornstarch, and brown sugar.
So, let’s discuss the peach situation a little bit more.
Can I use frozen Peaches to make Peach Cobbler?
Because peach season varies depending on which area of the country you’re in, you may need to use frozen peaches when the cobbler craving hits. From mid-May to mid-September, you should be able to find fresh peaches in the grocery store. If not, go with frozen. Not only are frozen peaches available year-round, they are available peeled, so that’s one step you can skip.
The only disadvantage I find when I use frozen peaches is that they’re not as “peachy-flavored” as fresh. I also don’t like having to thaw and drain them before mixing them into the cornstarch-sugar mixture. Two smallish details, but both motivate me to use fresh.
When it comes to using frozen fruits in desserts that should have a thick syrup, you need to do one of two things: thaw and drain the fruit of any excess water or add more cornstarch to compensate for the extra water the frozen fruit will release during baking. Usually, 2 additional tablespoons of cornstarch will cut it.
How do I make Cobbler dough?
My cobbler dough is a bit different in that I partially laminate the dough before forming it. Lamination of a dough simply means folding butter into the dough a number of times. Instead of being a biscuit-like topping, as most cobbler doughs are, this one is more of a blitz puff pastry dough. That just means it’s lighter and flakier than the standard. In this case, being flaky is a good thing.
To make the cobbler dough, sift the dry ingredients a couple of times into a mixing bowl. Grate ice-cold butter right on top of the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Toss and pinch the butter into the flour to create a coarse, cornmeal-like mixture.
Pour the very cold cream into the center of the mixture. Use your hands to fold the cream into the flour. The mixture will be so sticky at first that you may start cursing my name. Well, prepare to apologize because, after a few folds, you’re going to have a nice thick dough.
Transfer the dough to a moderately-floured surface and use your fingers (not a rolling pin) to flatten it into a 12″ x 6″ rectangle. The measurements don’t need to be precise at all, just get a rectangular shape with even thickness.
After flattening the dough, fold it as you would a letter: in thirds. Turn the folded “letter” 90° in any direction and press it out once again into a rectangle. Fold it once more, turn and press. Give the dough one last fold before wrapping it in plastic wrap and refrigerating it for 30 minutes (or longer).
At this point, you can wrap the dough and freeze it for up to 6 months. Thaw it in the fridge before proceeding as instructed below.
Or use it now.
How do I peel a Peach?
Because I always try to keep it real with you, I’m going to tell you that I hardly ever peel my peaches when I make peach cobbler. It just isn’t necessary. That said, I know a lot of people have textural issues that make eating peach skin unappealing.
To peel a peach: bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, use a paring knife to cut an “x” in the bottom of your peaches. When added to the boiling water, that “x” will aid in the process of loosening the peach skins. After scoring the peaches, fill a large pot with ice water.
Once the water comes to a vigorous boil, drop the peaches in and allow them to boil for 20-30 seconds (or until the skin starts to lift away). After the skins begin peeling back, use a spoon to remove them from the boiling water and immediately plunge them into the ice-water. “Shocking” the peaches stops the peaches from over-cooking by immediately stopping the cooking process.
Remove the peaches from the ice-water after a minute. The skins should peel off easily now. You might have to blanch and shock the peaches in batches to avoid dropping the water temperature too much.
If your peaches are pretty firm, a sharp vegetable peeler will remove the skins easily. If all else fails, use a good ol’ paring knife to remove the skins.
Cut the peaches into thick wedges once you finish peeling them- or not peeling them if you’re like me. Add them to a large mixing bowl, then toss the fruit in a high-quality bourbon and vanilla extract. The bourbon is optional, but makes for a crazy-delicious base to your peach cobbler filling.
How do you make Peach Cobbler filling?
The rest of the filling is stupid-easy to make.
Combine the cornstarch, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a small mixing bowl. Sprinkle the mixture over the bourbon-soaked peaches and toss to coat the peaches in the spice blend. The peaches should look like they’re in a dark brown syrup.
Can I freeze an unbaked cobbler?
Pour the peach mixture into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Remove the cobbler dough from the fridge and pat it into an 8″ x 12″ rectangle. You want the dough to be slightly smaller than the dish itself so it has room to expand while baking.
At this point, you can wrap the dish in a layer of plastic wrap, followed by a layer of foil and freeze for up to six months. I would suggest making your peach cobbler in a disposable pan if you plan to freeze it, though. It frees up the baking dish that way. Freezing the peach cobbler in a metal pan also means you can go from freezer to baking without waiting for the cobbler to thaw (you just need to add an additional 15-20 minutes to account for it being frozen).
Once the cobbler dough has been arranged on top, brush the dough with melted butter. Butter amps up the flakiness and flavor. Sprinkle a generous pinch of cinnamon-sugar on top and pierce the dough a few times with a knife to vent the dough.
How long do I bake Peach Cobbler? How do I know when my Cobbler is done?
A cobbler takes about 40-45 minutes in a 400°F oven to bake completely. Pop your baking dish into the oven and bake until the cobbler top is golden brown and the filling begins to bubble up through the crust and around the sides.
Remove the peach cobbler from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes before digging in. Any sooner than that and you’re bound to have a soupy mess on your hands. The cobbler filling needs a chance to cool down so it can properly thicken. So, exercise patience here, my friend. It’s totally worth it.
Can I freeze a baked Cobbler?
At this point you can also wrap the baked cobbler and freeze it for up to 6 months. I do this when I expect company or when I’m hosting a party. Allow the cobbler to cool completely, before wrapping and freezing.
Simply pull it out the evening before you plan to serve it and let it thaw in the fridge. Pop it into a 350°F oven for 20 minutes, then let it cool for 5 minutes before serving it. This just takes the chill off of the peach cobbler and warms up the filling. If you find the top is getting too dark while you’re warming it, just cover it lightly with aluminum foil.
How do I serve Peach Cobbler?
I’m a purist, so I need nothing more than a fork to enjoy my peach cobbler. My family, on the other hand, is divided between topping theirs with sweetened whipped cream or Vanilla Frozen Custard.
It really doesn’t matter how you serve it, so long as you serve it while it’s still warm. I highly recommend that. My family reheats their peach cobbler in the microwave- that’s how important warm cobbler is to us.
How do I store leftovers?
Store leftover peach cobbler at room temperature or in the fridge, both are fine.
Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it at room temp for 2 days at the most. I prefer to keep my cobbler at room temperature because it just tastes better. Butter hardens in the fridge and makes the cobbler top go stale faster. Because I keep it at room temperature, we eat it before 48 hours has passed.
When you store it in the fridge you eke out another day of leftovers. The choice is yours, really.
Reheat leftovers in the microwave for 15 seconds to get that fresh-baked flavor.
So, this is how we’re going to wrap Summer 2020 up, huh? Seems like it’s the best thing this year has to offer.
Share this recipe and be sure to pin it to your desserts board for easy finding!
Old-Fashioned Peach Cobbler
- 9" x 13" baking dish
- 1 1/3 cup (170g) all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoons (8g) baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon (2g) kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons (29g) unsalted butter very cold
- 1 cup (225 ml) heavy cream very cold
- 8 large (2 1/4 pounds or 1 kilo) peaches each peeled, pitted, and cut into 10 wedges (see post for instructions on peeling a peach)
- 2 tablespoons bourbon optional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (70g) cornstarch
- 1/2 cup, packed (105g) light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon (3g) ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon (2g) kosher salt
- pinch ground ginger
To Top the Peach Cobbler
- 1 tablespoon butter melted
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- sweetened whipped cream
- vanilla frozen custard
Make the Cobbler Dough (up to 3 days ahead)
- Pour the cold cream into the center of the mixture. Use your hands to fold the cream into the flour. Initially, the dough will be very sticky, but after a few folds, a thick dough will form.
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and use your fingers (not a rolling pin) to flatten it into a 12" x 6" rectangle.
- After flattening the dough, fold it in thirds as you would a letter. Turn the folded "letter" 90° in any direction and press it out once again into a rectangle. Fold it once more, turn and press into a rectangle. Give the dough one last fold before wrapping it in plastic wrap and refrigerating it for 30 minutes (or longer)*.
Prepare the Peach Filling
- Toss the peach slices, bourbon (if using) and vanilla extract together in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate, smaller bowl, combine the cornstarch, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and ginger together. Sprinkle the mixture over the bourbon-soaked peaches and toss to coat the peaches in the spice blend. The peaches should look like they're in a dark brown syrup.
Assemble and Bake the Peach Cobbler
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.Pour the peach mixture into a 9" x 13" baking dish.
- Remove the cobbler dough from the fridge and pat it into an 8" x 12" rectangle. The dough should be slightly smaller than the dish itself so it has room to expand while baking.Once the cobbler dough has been arranged on top, brush the dough with the melted butter.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar evenly over the top and pierce the dough a few times with a knife to vent the dough.
- Bake the cobbler in the pre-heated oven for 40-45 minutes or until the cobbler top is golden brown and the filling begins to bubble up through the crust and around the sides.
- Remove the peach cobbler from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the filling liquid to thicken up. Use a large spoon or spatula to scoop out portions and serve alone, topped with sweetened whipped cream, or a la mode with Vanilla Frozen Custard.
- Store leftover peach cobbler, covered, at room temperature for 2 days, or in the fridge for 3 days.Reheat leftovers in the microwave for 15 seconds to get that fresh-baked flavor.
To Freeze Unbaked Peach Cobbler:
- I recommend making your peach cobbler in a disposable pan if you plan to freeze it as it frees up your baking dish. Freezing the peach cobbler in a metal pan also allows you to take the cobbler from the freezer to baking without waiting for the cobbler to thaw.
- Wrap the dish containing the assembled peach cobbler in a layer of plastic wrap, followed by a layer of foil and freeze for up to six months.
- When ready to bake, allow the cobbler to thaw overnight in the fridge and butter and bake as instructed.
- Alternatively, bake the cobbler from its frozen state: brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes to account for it being frozen.
To Freeze Baked Peach Cobbler:
- Allow the cobbler to cool completely, before wrapping in a layer of plastic wrap or foil and freeze.
- To serve: pull the frozen cobbler pan from the freezer the evening before you plan to serve it and let it thaw in the fridge.
- Reheat the dessert it in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes, then let it cool for 5 minutes before serving it.
- If you find the top is getting too dark while you're warming it, just cover it lightly with aluminum foil.