The Last Cobbler

by Matt on August 27, 2010

In a few days I’ll be hopping on another plane to a place that promises lots of good food, relaxation, sunshine and wine. It’s a trip we’ve been planning for a while, but what I wasn’t planning on was real life enveloping the weeks before and after this excursion. In this case real life means work, and work means travel, and that means I’ll be up in the air and away from home for many weeks. When I return it will no longer be summer but early fall and I can’t help but feel slightly Rip Van Winkelish about the whole damn thing.

I’ve managed to cram quite a bit of summer in the past few weeks. Dinners outdoors with best friends, long walks in the muggy streets of NYC with my blogging family, even one last hurrah at our house just the other night dedicated to the bounty of figs. Summer is my favorite season and I just don’t like to see it ending, footstomp footstomp footstomp!

(But trust me, I’ll think I’ll be ok drinking wine in Nice with this man and indulging in rioja-induced tapas crawls of marathon proportions in Spain with the hubs)

As a symbolic gesture I picked up stone fruit at the farmers’ market the other day, knowing that it could very likely be the last peach or plum I would buy and cook with at home for some time. Of course I’m looking forward to what’s around the corner but saying goodbye to stone fruit always leaves me a bit melancholy. What better way to throw it a little party than by making a cobbler.  I am a Certified Cobbler Freak and it almost doesn’t matter what kind either. I don’t think anyone can go wrong with warm fruit, topping and the required scoop of ice cream. You just can’t.

I have my standard recipes for cobbler but we felt like doing something a bit different. A quick search online turned up Aida Mollenkamp’s recipe which sounded good. Little did I know it would actually turn out GREAT.

Do you know Aida? Do you watch her show on Cooking Channel? She brings a smile to my face everytime I think of her, and she’s even funnier and sillier in person. Not that I’m calling her silly, mind you. It’s just being around her makes me feel good. I do love that woman somethin’ fierce.

I’m glad that my last homemade cobbler of the summer went out with a bang. I suspect I’ll be making this cobbler for years, too. In my version I tweaked it just a bit, punctuating the wonderfully mellow peaches with tart dried cherries from my trip to Michigan. It was a match made in heaven. Speaking of heaven, those fluffy clouds of sour cream biscuits on top? Yea, they made this dish. It’s all about those biscuits.

Peach and Tart Cherry Cobbler with Sour Cream Biscuits adapted from a recipe by Aida Mollenkamp

Biscuits:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Filling
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, seeds reserved
1 ½ pounds fresh peaches, pitted and cut into sixths
1 cup of dried tart cherries (you can find them here)

Topping
2 teaspoons sour cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375˚ F and arrange a rack in the middle.

For the Biscuits: Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk to blend thoroughly.

With a large box grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture using the large holes and then toss to coat. Smear in the sour cream and heavy cream and knead until the dough comes together with your hands. Divide into six pieces and flatten into disks; cover and reserve in the fridge.

For the fruit filling: In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla seeds. Add peaches and dried cherries and mix until the fruit is evenly coated.

Put the fruit mixture into a 2-quart baking dish and top with the biscuit dough evenly across the top.

To Assemble: Brush the tops of the biscuits with sour cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until the filling is bubbling, the peaches are tender when pierces with a knife and the biscuits are golden brown and cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool before serving. Serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.