Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Picking Peaches

Sunday, the boy and I headed to the Jones Falls Farmer's Market in search of peaches for my first cobbler. We did our customary lap around the market. Sampling Bean Soup from Ms. Gene. We purchased the vegetarian black-eyed pea soup. It was a little sweet for my taste. I usually get the navy bean but wanted something different. I skipped the donuts and Zeke's coffee, the lines were just too long. We opted instead for a "WOW" from Wayne, The GingerMan. It includes his special ginger brew with mango sorbet--very refreshing.

I was also suckered into buying some "whack-ass" corn. The man yelling "have you tasted our corn, here try some...then stand in line." I cooked it up last night, it was the scariest batch I've ever purchased. Barely any kernels and lots of 'bad spots."

We did purchase some beautiful flowers. The sunflowers were gorgeous!

As I mentioned, this was my first cobbler. Of course, I expect perfection. I did an informal survey. Which peaches do you use to make a cobbler? Yellow or White? The majority recommended yellow peaches. Some said because they are sweeter.

A word of advice, always pick your own peaches.
I began to terribly over think the peach selection process. Should they be large or small, firm or soft? What if it has soft spot? is this ok? Decisions, decisions....I gave up and let the blonde girl with glasses pick them for me. She claimed she "made cobbler all the time" and not to worry. I should have known something was up when she said she didn't skin the peaches. I must have been delirious from the heat. Sigh, it happens to the best of us.

As fate would have it, I get home and come to my senses and realize I've made a terrible mistake. Blonde selected a several that were entirely too mushy and way to many soft spots of my liking. The flesh wasn't as sweet as when I pick them. Maybe next weeks batch will be better. The white peaches were wonderful. Firm, sweet and juicy. Maybe next time, I'll mix the two and see how it comes out.

I adapted the Peach Cobbler from Ms. Wilkes Boarding House recipes.

For the fruit mixture, I didn't add the grated lemon peel. I just couldn't bring myself to purchase the one at Giant. It was entirely too cheap-looking and feeling. I used fresh peaches.

I only used a half cup of sugar. However, I think I should have used what the recipe required. The peaches just weren't as sweet as I like. I also added some cinnamon to the peach mixture.

For the topping, I also used butter instead of shorting. I prefer to use half and half over milk in this recipe.

My oven is old and cranky, so it needed more time to bake than 40 minutes.

This is an old school style cobbler. Like the cobbler your great aunt who lives in Alabama would make for you. The warm delicious fruit on the bottom and biscuit-style crust on the top. I highly recommend getting some vanilla bean ice cream to go with it. Actually if you can find it, get frozen vanilla custard. Totally yummy!

Tip: Super easy way to skin peaches. Boil a pot of water. Remove from the pot from the fire once boiling starts. Drop the peaches in for a few minutes. Remove peaches from the pot. Run cold water over the peaches and the skins will rub off.

Preheat oven 350 degrees
Bake: 40 minutes
Serves 8

Peach Cobbler
6-8 fresh peaches, skinned
3 Tbsp corn starch
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp grated lemon peel
2 Tbsp butter

1 cup sifted flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg.

COMBINE butter, lemon and fruit in a pot on the stove over low heat.
ADD (slowly) corn starch and sugar.
COOK stirring constantly until thick
POUR fruit mixture into 10x6 baking dish (I sprayed my pan with PAM)
LET STAND while making the topping

TOPPING directions
SIFT flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl
ADD mile, shortening, vanilla and egg
BEAT at medium speed for 2-3 mins.
SPOON over fruit mixture

NOTE: my topping mixture was very ‘soupy’ after mixing but it baked fine.

One day, I'll get a camera and have photos to share. Until then bake and enjoy:-)

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