It’s Peach Season
I grew up in North Texas, and when June rolled around I knew we would enjoy homemade peach ice cream and peach cobbler unlike no other time during the year. My favorite was and always will be warm peach cobbler seasoned with cinnamon and topped with a simple rolled lattice top. Cobblers were never really meant to be pretty, but there’s no sense in scrimping on looks when you can make a simple, flaky, buttery lattice top to cover sweet, juicy summer peaches.
It all starts with just the right peach, and not just any peach will do.
Here are the basics:
#1 Figure out when you’ll be needing the peaches. If you’re making cobbler or pie the same day, they have no time to ripen, so don’t pass Go, don’t collect $200 and go directly to #2. If, however, you’re not going to use the peaches for 3-4 days, make sure you don’t pick too soft peaches or they’ll be a mushy mess on day 4. Squeeze gently and know that they will be somewhat firm. Leave them out on the counter to ripen and sweeten up and turn softer.
#2 Start with a squeeze, a gentle squeeze. As peaches ripen, they get softer, sweeter, juicier. You know where the stem was that looks somewhat like a belly button, the innie kind? That’s called the “shoulder” of the peach, and when you press it gently it should give a little, that means it’s ripe enough. The tip is the same way. So, squeeze away, but be gentle.
Peaches seem to be the most celebrated fruit in town. There are so many festivals celebrating the almighty peach, and some people even write poems about them!
Peaches seem to be a personal thing in the South. In Texas, the bigger the peach, the better. In Georgia, don’t kid with someone about getting those peaches from Texas because you might just get slapped!
As for me, I don’t usually go for a biscuit-topped peach cobbler or one you pour the batter over the top, or even the kind that the peaches go on top of the batter, and the batter rises up to form a crust.
I like the old fashioned butter pastry rolled out, forming a crust on the bottom and then criss-crossed on top. Nothing fancy, the lattice work doesn’t need to be any special pattern-just lay it on top.
The hot peach juices bubble up through the little holes and send the scent of cinnamon and peaches throughout the neighborhood. There’s just nothing like it. Scoop a mound of homemade vanilla Blue Bell ice cream on top and watch it start to melt, then eat it fast, burning your mouth along the way…it’ll be worth it.
- 2 1/2 c flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1/2 c cold butter, cubed
- 2/3 c shortening, chilled and cubed
- 8-10 Tbsp ice cold water
- 1/2 c butter
- 4 lb fresh peaches
- 1 c sugar
- 3 Tbsp light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 c butter, melted
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with nonstick spray; set aside.
- 2. Place a large bowl in refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. Sift flour, salt and sugar into chilled bowl and add butter and shortening, working into the flour mixture with fingers until large crumbs form, leaving chunks of butter and shortening in flour mixture. Don’t overwork. Add the water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together. Form into two balls and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes while making the filling.
- 3. To make the filling, peel, pit and slice peaches. In a large saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the peaches. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch together with a whisk; Add to the peaches and mix to combine. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla; Stir.
- 4. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out one ball into a large circle, cutting to fit on bottom and halfway up sides of the baking dish. Pour filling over crust. Roll out second ball and cut into 1 inch strips or wider. Weave together or leave top crust whole, cutting to fit top, and cut slits in the top. Brush top with melted butter. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until top is golden. Let set for 10 minutes before serving.