Cobblerfornia Dreamin’

by Matt on July 9, 2008

Cobbler-image

Boy, the mind is a powerful thing. Well, I mean, I’m sure yours is. Mine is currently oscillating between the study of sleep deprivation and a desire to pitch my belongings into a hobo stick and hightail it away from civilization for oh, like 100 years. There have been deadlines. And then even more deadlines. And before I bore you with the remarkably unsexy details of my post-married life I should just stop right there and say that I’ll catch up on some sleep when I’m dead.

If you’ll allow me to backtrack for just one moment I’d like to tell you that my backyard fruit trees have rewarded us this year; luscious, copious amounts of super-sweet fruit that always managed to fall to the ground before I can get out there to retrieve it. What I have harvested has made its way to our next door neighbor (he loves apricots), the family down the street (the whole gang even came over to help pick oranges), but because of my schedule (or is it Mother Nature’s?) I haven’t found any takers for my happy nectarines. I don’t mind that they all don’t ripen simultaneously as it gives me time to enjoy a handful of fruit over the course of a few days. Unlike that nectarine tree which makes me nervous each damn year.

I can almost hear that damn tree now.

“Hey shorty, are you ready? I’m serious…I’m sooo totally going to drop all this fruit in like 20 minutes and stand back while you crawl on the ground like a 4-year old hording the contents of a birthday piƱata!”

Oh brother. Now trees are talking to me. See? I told you I wasn’t getting enough sleep.

But speaking of sleep and burning candles at both ends I woke up Monday morning scratching my head thanks to a very surreal and strange dream I had. As I normally do this time of year I always come home from work and grab a colander and head to the backyard to pick fruit that’s ready to eat. In my dream it was business as usual but for each nectarine I picked one would mysteriously — miraculously, even — appear in its place. And it made that cartoony popping sound, the kind where you put your finger inside your mouth to mimic the opening of a bottle of champagne. I wanted to find someone to tell about my strange discovery but oddly no one was around. So I stopped picking, made a cobbler, and ate the entire thing. And then the next day I did the exact same thing. And I did it all over again. And this went on for what seemed like weeks in my dream. But the best part was that I don’t really remember making the cobblers, they just appeared. And they weren’t really nectarines as much as sweet perfect orbs. But you know how dreams are and their ability to suspend reality for the most part.

I’m telling you I really need to get some sleep.

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Peach (or 3-Week Nectarine) Cobbler from Everyday Baking

I think my fixation occurred because I happen to find fruit cobblers some of the most perfect desserts on the planet. I appreciate the lenient and generous standards I have for them — soggy? No problem! Too sweet? Give it here! However I will draw the line at a poor crust-to-fruit ratio, beware. I like the Martha Stewart recipe because it’s easy and I love Martha so much I might tattoo her name somewherespecial, Call me a kiss ass, I don’t care.

For The Filling:
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 pounds peaches, halved, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices, and cut again in half crosswise (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the Topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk

1.  Make the filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Add peaches and lemon juice; toss to combine. Divide filling evenly among four 8-ounce custard cups (or one 2-quart baking dish); transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.

 2. Make the topping and bake: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, blend in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk; stir just until a dough forms. Drop dough onto peaches, using about 1/3 cup dough for each custard cup. Sprinkle dough with remaining teaspoon sugar. Bake until fruit is bubbling and biscuit topping is golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes; serve warm.