There is a schism in the South between people who prefer the biscuity type of cobbler and those who prefer the caky type. This one favors the latter group, and most Southern cooks know a version of the recipe by heart.
This recipe calls for defrosted frozen fruit; use fresh fruit when it's in season. Whole milk adds richness and is preferred here, but low-fat milk can be substituted.
Any cobbler is made better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but this one is particularly improved by a honey-flavored ice cream, such as Haagen-Dazs Reserve Hawaiian Lehua Honey & Sweet Cream.
Make Ahead: The cobbler can be made early on the day it is to be served. Reheat in a 300-degree oven until warmed through.
Servings: 8 generous servings
- For the fruit
- 3 cups sliced frozen peaches, defrosted
- 4 ounces dried unsulphured unsweetened apricots, cut into small dice (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 ounces crystallized ginger, cut into small dice (about 1/3 cup)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- For the batter
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk (may substitute low-fat)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the fruit: Combine the peaches, apricots, ginger and sugar; stir to mix well, then let the mixture sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Have ready a medium cast-iron skillet or ovenproof baking dish. (A skillet works better than a baking dish and looks just right.)
Cut the butter into several pieces; place them in the skillet or baking dish. Place in the oven while the oven preheats; let the butter melt until the milk solids cluster and the butter begins to brown and smells nutty.
While the butter is melting, prepare the batter: Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add the milk and extracts, whisking until the batter is smooth.
Place the skillet with the melted butter on top of the stove. Pour the batter into the skillet; a crust will begin to form around the edge. Use a slotted spoon to add the fruit mixture, spreading it evenly on top of the batter without breaching the crust edge.
(Reserve any accumulated fruit juices; they can be frozen and used as an ice cream topping, reduced for a sauce or added to a jam recipe.)
Return the skillet to the oven; bake for 1 hour, until the cobbler is a deep golden brown and springy to the touch. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
From columnist David Hagedorn.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
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