Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Peach Cobbler

All summer long, a trip to the market is not complete without stopping by my favorite fruit lady to pick up some peaches. This week, seeing that she still had a nice supply, I decided to get a bunch while the getting was still good. I don't know how much longer her stash is going to last.

With my purchase I made the best peach cobbler I've ever concocted. The peaches were just ripe, but still firm enough to hold their shape throughout the cooking process. And they were so sweet that I hardly needed to add any sugar.

Cobbler is one of my favorite desserts to prepare, especially because I feel absolutely no guilt while eating it. (Okay, the scoop of vanilla ice cream on top may induce a moment or two of guilt, but it's worth it.) I always have a helping of cobbler the next morning for breakfast as well. Without the ice cream it's nothing more then cooked fruit with a whole grain topping. What could be better then that?

5 pounds ripe peaches
1/4 cup plus one 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup whole oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chilled butter
2 to 4 tablespoons of fruit juice* or water

Peel and slice peaches. Place in a mixing bowl and toss with 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar (depending on your preference and the sweetness of the fruit), 2 tablespoons flour, almond extract, and a pinch of salt. Pour peaches into a glass baking pan.

For the topping mix oats, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup of flour, and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and add to the bowl. Using your finger tips, incorporate the butter until most of the mixture comes together into small clumps. Add juice or water, one tablespoon at a time, until the topping is moist but not soggy.

Distribute the topping evenly over the peaches. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. When the juice in the fruit is bubbling, remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes, allowing the topping to turn golden brown.

Cool a bit before serving to allow the juices to thicken. Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Serve warm or at room temperature.

* I used a multi-vitamin juice that included a mixture of peach, pineapple, and apple. Orange or apple would also work well.

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