~ Alice's Super-Simple Georgia Peach-Pie Cobbler ~
Alice was a friend and a member of our tailgate group back in the 1980's and 1990's. Alice was a Southern Belle who lived most of her life in Atlanta, Georgia. She made no secret of the fact that she detested the sport of cooking -- which complicates things for a woman in a tailgate group like ours. That said, she participated and prepared something good each week, and, from her, I got a few very nice recipes that were easy to make too. Since Georgia is known as the Peach State, it wasn't surprising that one of Alice's dessert recipes was a juicy peach cobbler.
A bit about Georgia peaches: Peaches were in Georgia before there was a Georgia. Franciscan monks introduced them to St. Simons and Cumberland Island in the 16th century. Cherokee Indians grew peaches through the 18th century, and, Raphael Moses, a Columbus planter, began marketing peaches in Georgia in 1851 and is credited with being the first to sell peaches outside the South. Peach production exploded after the Civil War, when Georgia farmers were looking for alternatives to cotton. They were so successful that in the following decades Georgia earned the nickname “the Peach State.” Increased railroad lines and refrigerated boxcars meant faster shipment to markets and pushed peach production to 8 million bushels a year by 1928. Other states have since gotten in on the peach action so Georgia’s share decreased, but in popular culture, Georgia will always be the Peach State, and the peaches became Georgia’s official state fruit on April 7, 1995.
A bit about cobbler: Cobbler is almost always associated with a baked, deep-dish fruit or berry dessert that emerges from the oven with a semi-crispy top that has been made with a batter, a biscuit dough or a pastry. There is no right or wrong topping for a cobbler -- it depends on your preference, where you live and/or who taught you how to make cobbler. Cobbler recipes have been printed in European cookbooks since the 19th century and were originally main-dish, protein-based meals. Cobblers in the US originated in the Colonies because the English settlers were unable to make their traditional suet puddings for lack of ingredients and proper equipment. The name is said to derive from the finished product taking on the appearance of a rough cobblestone street.
Don't have fresh peaches? Home-canned (or canned) work fine.
I won't lie, there is nothing like a peach cobbler made with freshly-picked local peaches, but, if I were to be a purist on this point, I would only eat peach cobbler during a period of a week or two in the mid-to-late Summer when they're ripe -- which would be stupid on my part. Luckily, Joe grows peaches in our yard, so, I make a point of canning several jars every year. With very little compromise, canned peaches make peach cobbler a yummy year-round treat in my house.
4 ounces salted butter (1 stick)
1 cup pancake mix
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
Sugar 'n Cinnamon
~ Step 1. Chop the peaches into chunks as directed and set aside. Place the butter in an 8" x 8" x 2" baking dish and melt the butter in the microwave. Tilt the dish to evenly coat the entire bottom with the melted butter. Set aside.
~Step 2. In a large bowl, stir together the pancake mix, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a 1-cup measuring container, stir together the milk and almond extract. Add the milk mixture to the pancake mix mixture. Whisk the mixture together until a thin, smooth batter forms.
~Step 3. Pour all of the batter into the baking dish right on top of the butter. Do not stir the batter into the butter. Using a slotted spoon, spoon/distribute the peaches evenly over the batter. Generously sprinkle the top of the peaches with Sugar 'n Cinnamon. Bake on center rack of preheated 350º oven 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Note: While the cobbler is baking, the peaches (or any fruit) are going to sink to the bottom of the baking dish. At the same time, the batter is going to bubble and bake up to the surface in random spots across the surface. The cobbler will be golden brown and will spring back slightly when touched in the center. Cool at least 15 minutes prior to serving.
Serve steamy-hot, slightly-warm or at room temperature...
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; 4-cup measuring container; 1-cup measuring container; whisk; large rubber spatula; 8" x 8" x 2" baking dish
Cook's Note: Another one of my favorite year-round uses for my home-canned peaches is my recipe for ~ A Peachy All-White-Meat 'Melanie' Chicken Salad ~, and, I like to serve each portion with a slice of my succulent ~ Back to Basics, Plain & Simple, Date & Nut Bread ~. Both recipes can be found in Category 12.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017)