Peach & Vanilla Bean Cobbler
We received a very nice gift a week ago – a box of peaches from one of Mr Man’s clients. It was a pleasant surprise because most gifts he brings home are quite corporate. They sat in our fridge waiting patiently for something to inspire me and finally over the weekend it did.
The cobbler falls into the same fruity-dessert category as a buckle, a betty, a grunt, a crumble, slump and a pandowdy – all very peculiar names with similar traits however they do have their own special characteristics (and for those of you that are in the dark on all of these I have listed definitions below). It is easy to see why one dessert might be confused with another, because they are all very similar (yet are still slightly different) – a little confusing to say the least.
Anyway, I came up with my own version of the cobbler and here it is. Whilst most cobblers I have tried are flavoured with cinnamon and nutmeg I thought a little vanilla bean might be a nice change. The caramelized peaches in a vanilla flecked syrup have the perfect amount of sugar and spice to work well with the biscuits and make for a superb stand out dessert.
2 1/2 pounds ripe but firm peaches (6 to 7 medium)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 ounce butter, chopped
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
Preheat your oven to 220c/425f.
Blanch peaches in boiling water for 1 minute, remove and peel (or rub) off the skkin. Halve and remove the pit and using a small spoon, scoop out and discard the dark/red flesh from pit area. Cut into segments and gently toss with sugar in large bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes, tossing several times.
Drain peaches in colander set over large bowl. Whisk 1/2 cup of drained juice (discarding the extra), cornstarch and vanilla bean seeds together in small bowl. Toss this mixture with peach slices and transfer to 8-inch square baking dish or equivalent (I used a round dish). Scatter with butter pieces and bake until peaches begin to bubble around edges, about 10 minutes.
While the peaches are baking, whisk the flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine. Scatter butter over and work with a knife or pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse meal (this can also be done using using small pulses in a food processor).
Transfer to medium bowl, add yogurt and toss with spoon until cohesive dough is formed – do not overmix!!. Break dough into 6 – 8 evenly sized but roughly shaped mounds and set aside.
After peaches have baked for 10 minutes and syrupy and almost caramelised, remove from oven and place dough mounds on top, spacing them at least 1 inch apart (they should not touch). Sprinkle each mound of dough with a little of the remaining sugar. Bake until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling, 16 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven. Cool on a wire rack until warm, about 20 minutes and serve.
Betty: a baked pudding made of layers of spiced and sugared fruit and buttered bread crumbs.
Clafoutis: a French cobbler, with fruit (usually cherries) on the bottom, custard, and a rough batter crust baked on top
Cobbler: stewed fruit in which biscuit dough is dropped onto the fruit before baking. The consensus is that the dish got its name because the lumps of cooked dough resembled cobblestones.
Crisp: a deep-dish fruit dessert made with a crumb or streusel topping and baked.
Crumble: a British dessert in which raw fruit is topped with a crumbly pastry mixture and baked. One reference says a crumble is like a crisp, but not as rich.
Grunt: biscuit dough on top of stewed fruit, which is steamed, not baked.
Pandowdy: fruit on the bottom and a rolled crust on top, which is broken up to allow the juices to come through.
Shortcakes: These are biscuits, often rich or sweetened biscuits, that are topped with fruit and whipped cream.
Slump: cooked or uncooked fruit topped with biscuit dough or piecrust, which can be baked or steamed, and can be made upside down.