What is more Southern than a cobbler? What is more seasonal in the summer than peach cobbler? I have the best summer southern peach cobbler recipe for you.
It’s summer, it’s the South and it’s peach season. I love southern desserts that speak of warm days sitting on the porch while kids play in the sprinkler. Cold ice cream dripping down your chin. It’s melting because it’s on top of a warm peach cobbler that mom or grandma made from the fruit out in the back yard.
We did have a front porch growing up and I did play in the sprinkler and my mom did make peach cobbler and it always had a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
Sorry to say, we did not have a peach tree or any fruit that grew in our yard.
I don’t where my mom got her peaches, but I do remember how good that peach cobbler tasted on a hot summer Texas night. I’m not sure that she ever used a recipe. I just know that she made the best summer Southern peach cobbler
Unfortunately, as a kid, I wasn’t interested in cooking or baking. (Although the eating side was always a topic of great interest. Did anyone else’s parents accuse them of having a tapeworm?)
I was happier being outside riding my bike or being at the stables riding my horse than inside watching my mom cook. Now I wish I’d spent more time hanging on to her apron strings.
How to Bake the Best Peach Cobbler
Today peaches and peach cobbler lure me to the kitchen, not just to eat, but to bake. When I saw peaches at the store for the first time, I was thrilled. A big bag of organic Texas peaches came home with me.
I could see Sweet Shark’s eyes light up with thoughts of peach cobbler.
Unfortunately, I had to wait a few days for the peaches to ripen.
Then I got out the butter, flour, and sugar. I measured and chilled the dough.
Next, I peeled and sliced and rolled out dough and make the best peach cobbler.
And like any good neighbor, I’m sharing the dish with you. Let me show you how to bake the best simple summer Southern Peach Cobbler.
First of all, if you’ve followed any of my recipe posts, you might have figured out that I like to show you tons of photos and give a lot of instruction.
That’s because I taught cooking classes for 15 years, and before that, I worked in the culinary school at Sur la Table for 4 years.
Although I stopped teaching cooking classes in 2019, I can’t just give you a recipe. Anyone can just give you a recipe. I have to teach you a few techniques and share some tips, just like you were sitting in my kitchen at a cooking class. I want you to learn something when you are visiting here.
WHAT IS COBBLER?
Just for fun, let’s talk about cobbler. What exactly is it? Well, depending on where you are from or where your grandma was from, a cobbler can be made different ways.
For sure, it has fruit and some kind of pastry. Let’s think of cobbler as fruit baked in a deep~dish pie between 2 layers of pastry. Or not.
There might be only 1 layer of pastry, either on the top or the bottom of the fruit. The top layer of pastry may completely cover the fruit or just parts of the fruit (In which case, it may be called dumplings.). The pastry may be pie dough or biscuits or crumbled cake. Confused?
The point is cobbler can have many variations. They are all good; it’s just a matter of personal preference.
Personally, I prefer a cobbler that is not completely covered in pastry ~ that’s a pie in my book. I like the pastry “dotted” over the top. I like to see the fruit and have it bubbling and oozing and slightly brown. Having said that, I’ve got my apron on so let’s bake a peach cobbler.
THE PEACH COBBLER DOUGH
A good dough starts with cold, cold butter or a combination of butter and lard (Crisco). Dice your butter first and then place it in the freezer for 10~15 minutes.
While your butter is chilling in the freezer, combine your dry ingredients ~ flour, salt, and sugar.
TIP: a small whisk is a great tool for fully combining dry ingredients.
Besides your flour mixture and butter/lard mixture, you will need ice water ~ not cold water, but ice water ~ that’s very important.
You want to make the dough on a large surface.
That could be your kitchen countertop or a large wooden cutting board. Dump out the flour mixture onto the surface. Dump is a Southern culinary term.
HOW DO YOU COMBINE THE FLOUR AND BUTTER?
- Pile (another Southern culinary term) the chilled butter on top of the dry ingredients.
- Use a pastry scraper to start pulling the flour over and into the butter. You can use the scraper to cut the butter into the flour.
- Half of the butter pieces should be like coarse meal and the other half should still be large pieces about 1/2~inch.
TIP: You can use your hands at this stage, but the warmth from your hands may soften the butter too quickly. A pastry scraper or pastry cutter works better.
(I tell Sweet Shark that’s one of those techniques I learned in culinary school and cost him about $35,000 for me to learn. You’re getting it for free.)
- Keep gathering the dough together with the pastry scraper and your other hand until you can form it into a mound. It will not yet be fully incorporated.
- Make a trench down the middle of the mound of dough.
- Here’s where the magic of the ice water comes in. Add 1 tablespoon of ice water at a time, fluffing the flour so that it absorbs the water.
- Redraw a trench until all the ice water has been absorbed into the flour/butter mixture.
- After you’ve added about 4 tablespoons of ice water, gather the dough into 1 mass.
SECRET TIP: Using the palm of your hand, smear (push) the dough away from you. Then pull it back together. Do this 5 or 6 times. This step really flattens the butter and helps it to blend into the flour. Afterward, you will have a fully made dough.
- Gather all the dough together with your pastry scraper and form it into a flat disk.
- Wrap your disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- When you take the dough out of the refrigerator, it will be very hard. Let it sit for 15 minutes to soften before rolling it out. It’s not a sticky dough so you don’t need to flour your work surface.
- Roll it out about 1 1/2 inches larger than your pie dish. Trim off the excess dough and reserve it for the topping.
THE PEACH COBBLER FILLING
The filling is a combination of your fruit, sugar, a little flour or cornstarch, seasoning, and butter. You can use blackberries, blueberries, cherries, boysenberries, and, of course, peaches. For peaches, you will need to peel and slice then.
NOTE ABOUT THE PEACHES: Always check if the peaches are freestone or clingstone. You always want freestone if you can find them.
With freestone, you just cut around the peach, twist, and the pit comes right off. Then it’s easy to slice the peaches.
These peaches were the cling kind, which makes them harder to remove from the pit. I actually just slice around the pit. You’ll lose some of the meat of the peach. But they were really sweet.
Combine the sugar, flour, and seasoning. I used freshly grated nutmeg, but ground nutmeg or cinnamon works great, too. Isn’t this little bitty nutmeg grater the cutest thing?
Fill the pie dish with the fruit and sprinkle liberally with the sugar mixture. Dot the fruit with the thin slices of butter. As the cobbler bakes, the sugar and butter along with the natural liquid from the fruit combine to make the sweet juicy filling.
For the topping, pinch off pieces of dough, roll into 1~inch balls and flatten with your fingers. Place randomly on the top of the peaches.
Pop in the 425˚F. oven for 20 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375˚F. and bake for about 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Cool on a rack until it is just warm.
TIP: Place a sheet pan on the rack below the cobbler in case the filling bubbles over.
FINISHED PEACH COBBLER
The crust of your peach cobbler should be golden brown. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
FRENCH CULINARY TIP: You know how pretty and shiny fruit desserts are at your bakery?
Spoon a couple of tablespoons of apricot, fig, or orange preserves into a microwave~safe dish and heat until melted, about 10 seconds.
Using a pastry brush, paint the tops of all the pastry crusts with the melted preserves. You’ll have a cobbler that’s extra pretty. At this point, you can sprinkle sugar on top to really increase the pretty factor.
TIP: I keep the cobbler in the refrigerator, but to warm it up, place your cobbler in a serving bowl or on a plate and microwave for 10 ~15 seconds. Then top with vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.
This is sooo good. Remember that the flavor of the fruit depends to some extent on the type of peach, the ripeness of the peach and the sweetness of the peach. You can adjust the amount of sugar topping based on the sweetness of the peaches.
Nothing is better than a piece of peach cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
PEACH COBBLER RECIPE
Best Summer Southern Peach Cobbler
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- mixing bowls
- pie plate
- Rolling Pin
- sheet pan
- cooling rack
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all~purpose flour
- 1 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated flour
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter cut into 1/2~inch pieces and freeze 10 minutes
- 2 tablespoons Crisco cut into 2 pieces and freeze 10 minutes
- 4~6 tablespoons ice water
- 8 cups peeled, sliced peaches firm, but ripe
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons all~purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter thinly sliced
- Put the flour, salt and sugar in a large cutting board and mix them with your fingers to blend.
- Put the frozen butter and Crisco on top of the flour mixture, and use a large kitchen knife or pastry scraper to cut the fats into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some butter and Crisco pieces still as large as 1/2~inch. Ideally, half the of the fat should be cut finely into the flour and the other half left in larger chunks.
- Working quickly, gather the flour~fat mixture into a mound and, using your fingers, draw a trench lengthwise through the center. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the ice water down the length of the trench, and with your fingers spread apart, fluff the flour so that it absorbs the water. Redraw the trench and continue incorporating the ice water by tablespoons in the same manner. After you have incorporated 4 tablespoons of the ice water, the dough should begin to clump together into large pieces. If there are any unmassed areas, sprinkle them lightly with droplets of water and mix as before.
- Gather the dough into a mass with a pastry scraper and, again working quickly, with the heel of your hand, smear a lunk of dough roughly the size of an egg by pushing it away from you. Continue with pieces of dough until the entire mass has been processed this way.
- When finished, gather all the dough together with a pastry scraper and repeat the process. Regather the dough, quickly shape it into a flat disk, and wrap it in a double thickness of plastic wrap. Use the palm of your hand to flatten the disk even more.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out into a circle 1 1/2 inches larger than your pie plate. Line the pie plate with the dough and trim it to leave a 1/2~inch overhang of pastry dough. Fold the overhang under, forming a thick edge on the rim of the pan.
- Reserve the extra dough for the cobbler topping.
Filling and Assembly of Cobbler
- Preheat the oven to 425˚F.
- Fill the pastry~lined pie plate with the peaches.
- Mix the sugar, flour, salt and nutmeg in a small bowl and sprinkle over the peaches. Top with the butter slices.
- With your fingers, roll pieces of the reserved dough into balls and flatten with your fingers. Place the pieces evenly over the top of the peaches and butter slices.
- Place the pie plate on a half~sheet pan. Bake the cobbler for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375˚F. and bake for 30 ~ 40 minutes longer, until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
- Cool the cobbler on a rack until it is warm and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
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