Emergency Dessert {blueberry and peach cobbler}

I wasn’t planning on blogging about this. I got a wild hair on Saturday and decided that my peaches were on the way from ripe to sad and that I needed to do something about it before they went full-rotten on me. I do not waste a peach. I only had four though, and didn’t think that was enough for a whole cobbler, so I scanned the fridge and found some blueberries hanging out, looking like they needed something to do. Destiny.

Dad will probably remember this story, but the first cobbler I ever made came as a result of an ugly bike dismount in the Nantahala National Forest when I was about 12. Along with my uncle and my cousin, we were on a guided mountain biking adventure when I took a spill over the handlebars. I was scraped up and had a sore butt to boot from the seat. Mid-trail, I threw up my hands, proclaiming that I was done. I was NOT continuing the bike ride and they could figure out what to do. So Dad decided that we’d make our way back to the cabin with our bikes, walking and riding as we saw fit, but while we were walking through the woods, we might as well pick blackberries on the way back.

We made it back to the cabin in two pieces and had enough blackberries to add to some peaches we bought on the side of the road to make a fantastic cobbler for the whole family. I think we were able to enjoy it before the next family arrived at our cabin, expecting to move in and begin their family vacation. While we may be good at impromptu desserts, evidently we aren’t that great with calendars and we were off a day with our reservation. Oops. Thinking back, I can’t remember where we ended up sleeping – maybe Nana and Granddaddy’s cabin – but I do remember the cobbler.

Clearly these things are easy enough to whip up on a whim, scraped up and all, and don’t take many ingredients to pull off. I was excited to experiment in the kitchen and learn that you can use the same technique to peel a peach as you can to peel a tomato. This was a big discovery. As I mentioned, I hadn’t planned to blog about this until I had prepped the fruit, so pardon the picturelessness.

On we go:

  • 4 peaches, peeled and cubed
  • 1-2 cups blueberries
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3/8 cup whole milk (you can eyeball this)

Against your better judgment, preheat your oven to 375°F.

This is a very forgiving recipe, so don’t stress about peculiar measurements. Go with your gut. Put your peeled, diced peaches, blueberries, 2 tablespoons of sugar, cornstarch, orange zest and cinnamon in a bowl and toss to coat everything. In the past, when I put cornstarch on fruit like this, I generally end up cooking the fruit on the stove for a bit but on Saturday, as Atlanta was experiencing the hottest day in its history and I was in my 83 degree kitchen cooking cobbler, meatloaf and macaroni and cheese, I wasn’t about to add another pan to the ridiculousness or turn on another burner. It worked out fine. Two discoveries down, one more to go. Pour your fruit in an oven safe dish.

Now we just whip up the top. In the past, I’ve sifted things and used a pastry cutter but this time I just pulled out the Cuisinart and dumped. You can sift and cut if you feel like it, but I was already sweating and I decided to let something else do the work. Sifting just felt like a chore.

Put the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in your Cuisinart and give it a quick whir to “sift”. Grab your butter out of the fridge (you want it to be cold) and cut the 6 tablespoons into cubes and drop into the food processor.

Process for about 10 seconds or until you reach that tasty “wet sand” consistency we all talk about as though it were something we’d want to eat instead of get out of our bathing suits. Remove the little pouring spout plug, and with the Cuisinart running, pour in the milk and process until just combined. The dough will be sticky and delicious.

Take your grimy little hands and drop the dough on top of the prepared fruit until you’ve got the whole thing mostly covered.

Place the cobbler on a sheet pan to catch the bubbles – because big blue bubbles you will have – and bake for 40-45 minutes until, well, bubbly.

I went straight in with a spoon, but if you would prefer, you can put this in a bowl and top with vanilla ice cream. I did that too.

Make this – or at least keep it in your back pocket if you find yourself limping through the woods on the way to a kitchen. It’s foolproof as indicated by the quality of the outcome and the state of the chef.

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