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Peach Cobbler with White Cheddar Biscuit Topping

From Sheri Castle’s The New Southern Garden Cookbook

This is my grandmother’s cobbler. I cannot imagine what led her to try cheese with peaches, but we agreed that sharp white cheddar was the tastiest. The biscuits are dropped into the juicy fruit filling midway during cooking, so they simmer on the bottom and bake on the top, creating a cobber that is a little like fruit dumplings.

Filling

8 cups ½-inch-thick peeled peach slices
1 ½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled

Biscuit Topping

2 cups soft southern wheat self-rising flour
1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk

Makes 12 servings

  1. For the filling: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a 9 X 13-inch baking dish.
  2. Place the peaches in the prepared baking dish. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and almond extract. Sprinkle the mixture over the peaches. Dot the peaches with the cubes of butter. Bake the filling for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the topping.
  3. For the topping: Stir together the flour and cheese in a large bowl. Stir together the melted butter and buttermilk in a small bowl. Slowly pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, stirring gently with a fork to form soft, fairly wet dough.

Remove the dish from the oven. Stir the filling gently to make sure all of the sugar has dissolved. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough over the filling. Return the cobbler to the oven and continue baking until the biscuits are firm and golden brown on top and the filling bubbles around the edges, about 20 minutes more. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving hot.

I don’t think this cobbler needs any accompaniment, but some people will appreciate a scoop of ice cream. Vanilla always works, but try lemon sorbet to balance the sweetness of the filling.

From Sheri Castle’s The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best From Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands, and CSA Farm Boxes. Copyright © 2011 by Sheri Castle. Photographs © 2011 by Stewart Waller. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press. www.uncpress.unc.edu

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