friday feast: just peachy for august (part one, peach cobbler)

I don’t like summer, but I love these:

And eating those made me want to re-read this:

Jamesandthegiantpeach.jpg Movie: James and the giant peach image by 4acesup

I can’t think of a better combination to stave off the dog days of August. It is fitting that the first recipe I share with you be tied to a Roald Dahl book; while living in London I read all his children’s books for the first time and was totally blown away by his sardonic imagination. He was definitely over-the-top, but he did make his point. Though my vision isn’t as dark as his was, his work gave me “permission” to step outside that safe box of “goody-goody” kids’ books that always walk a safe line but border on being bland and unrealistic. He remains an ongoing influence.

You may remember that in this story the giant peach enables James to escape the tyranny of his cruel aunts. The peach rolls down the big hill, flattens the aunts, then eventually lands in the ocean. James devises a way to harness five hundred and two seagulls to lift the peach out of the water when sharks begin nipping at it. Now they can all fly away to new adventure. But also important is that the peach provides James and his new friends with all the food they need. Just hearing their descriptions at first tasting those “great chunks of juicy, golden-coloured peach flesh” makes me crave those beautiful Georgia peaches that fill the supermarket bins these days. (Pause, while I bite into one.)

So, for your feasting pleasure, here is one of the best peach cobbler recipes I’ve ever tasted. It differs from traditional cobbler recipes, which are basically baked fruit covered with pie crust. This version combines a cake-like batter with the sliced fruit, creating a pleasing texture and a rich mingling of flavor. Enjoy warm with vanilla ice cream, and tell me about how your taste buds sighed with rapture.

CLIFTON PEACH COBBLER 


photo by Shaw Girl.

Serves 12

1 cup butter (no substitute)
2 cups self rising flour
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 to 6 cups peeled sliced peaches (fresh or frozen)
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sliced almonds
nutmeg (to taste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put butter in ovenproof roaster size pan (11″ x 16 1/2 “) and melt in oven. Whisk flour, sugar (1 1/2 cups), milk, and almond extract to make a batter. Remove pan from oven, add batter, arrange peaches on top. Scatter extra sugar (1/4 to 1/2 cup), dots of butter, nutmeg, and almonds on top. Return to oven and bake until batter is golden brown and puffed around the fruit. Takes 30 to 40 minutes. Delicious with homemade ice cream.

TIPS:

If a more moist cobbler is desired, add 1 cup liquid to the peaches, i.e., orange juice, water, or with 2 to 3 tablespoons liqueur mixed into batter. Peach or apricot brandy is good. I do recommend adding the extra liquid! 

Peach skins are easily removed by submerging them in boiling water for a minute or so (they should slide off).

(From COOKING WITH HEART IN HAND by Suzanne Winningham Worsham, Clifton, VA  1987)

Click here for Part 2 of  Just Peachy.

5 thoughts on “friday feast: just peachy for august (part one, peach cobbler)

  1. I made a peach cobbler this weekend out of the cookbook One Big Table. It was so good, I didn’t want to share it with anyone else, but I did. There is such a wealth of delicious things to cook with at the farm markets right now!

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