May I call this peach cobbler?: (Do I dare to eat a peach?)

Peach cobbler.

Yours, your mom’s, Cracker Barrel’s, Hardee’s…

Which is “real?”

STOP RIGHT THERE. Put your spoon down, your hands at your sides, and listen.

The Recipe Police have left the building.

There are those who swear a true cobbler can only be topped with a rolled pie crust. Others say biscuit dough – rolled, or plopped – is “correct.”

Still other bakers claim cake batter poured over the fruit, so that fruit and cake become a cohesive whole as the cobbler bakes, is the “right” way to do it.

And I say – WHATEVER. As in, whatever makes you happy, tastes good, and floats your boat.

History tells us that cobbler was first mentioned in print – at least in this country – in the early 1800s. The crust of choice back then? A “thick paste.” Well, that’s revelatory.

Further research leads me to believe that one thing common to cobblers down the decades is the thickness of the crust on top. None of this delicate, flaky 1/4”-thick stuff; cobbler is topped with something substantial, either biscuit dough, or a thick pie crust.

The following recipe is made not with a thick pie or biscuit crust, but with a topping of cubed bread. It’s the fastest, EASIEST way to hot, bubbly peaches with crust on top.

But is it “peach cobbler?”

Well, uh, hmmm…

I plead the Fifth!

If you’re willing to cast aside long-held assumptions about what constitutes authentic cobbler, give this Just-Too-Easy Peach Cobbler recipe a try. Or Just-Too-Easy Apple Cobbler, or berry… this recipe is ripe for tweaking using the fruits or berries of your choice.

First, preheat your oven to 350°F.

Choose your pan: a 9” pie plate; or a 9” round cake pan, or 8” square pan.

The pie plate should be at least 1 1/2” deep; the cake or square pans, a minimum of 2” deep.

Let’s start with the peaches. You’ll need 6 to 7 medium-sized peaches (2 pounds), peeled and sliced, OR 2 large (1 pound, 15 ounce) cans sliced peaches, drained. Or two 1-pound bags of frozen peaches, thawed; which is what I’m using here.

These peach slices were super-large, so I pulsed them briefly in a food processor, to cut them into bite-sized pieces.

Add 1/4 cup Pie Filling Enhancer to the peaches. I love this enhancer for all kinds of fruit fillings. With starch for thickening, a bit of sugar for sweetness, and a touch of ascorbic acid for color and a flavor-boosting citrus note, it does wonders for pies and crisps featuring apples or pears, berries, or stone fruits.

You can also simply thicken the cobbler with cornstarch: 2 tablespoons for fresh or canned fruit, 3 tablespoons for frozen.

Can you make this cobbler without any thickener at all?

Sure. The filling will just be thinner.

Spoon the filling into your chosen pan.

Next – bread for the topping. Use a firm, moist, sandwich-type bread, for best results. King Arthur’s Classic White Bread is my go-to loaf.

You’ll need 3 to 5 slices of bread, depending on how tall your loaf is. Your goal is about 4 cups (5 ounces) bread cubes. No need to remove the crusts.

Pour the bread cubes onto the filling.

Distribute evenly, pressing down gently.

Next, the topping that brings this dish together.

Put the following in a bowl:

1/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 large egg
1/2 cup melted butter

Mix to make a thick syrup.

Drizzle over the bread cubes.

Yes, there’s a lot, and it may run over a bit. That’s why I’ve set the pie plate on a piece of parchment.

Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon, if desired.

Bake the cobbler in a preheated 350°F oven for 45 minutes…

…until it’s golden brown.

Remove it from the oven; the juices should be bubbling.

Serve it hot or warm, with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Or with plain heavy cream. Ah, peaches & cream…

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Too Easy Peach Cobbler.

cobbler2

P.S. As I continued to experiment with this recipe, I found it works equally well with other fruits. This apple version, made with leftover dinner rolls, hit the spot on a chilly autumn afternoon.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. bsteimle

    I made this yesterday and brought it to a friend’s for July 4th lunch. It was FABULOUS. I was a little worried when I put it in the oven, with the syrup over all the top of the bread. I wondered how this was going to work out. But I should know better than to doubt PJ. The syrup baked into the bread cubes to a gorgeous crunchy goodness. And it was much easier than my traditional cobbler with a biscuit top. I used leftover (frozen) bread “ends” (loaf leftovers) most of which were oatmeal bread, I think 😉

    Reply
  2. cocoissweet

    this is wonderful recipe! i will definitely give it a try! couple of question though, can i divide this cobbler into four six or four ounces ramekins? and how long should i bake them? can i replace the bread with stale croissant?
    I don’t see why not! The croissants will work, but they might bake a bit faster, which might not be a bad thing if you are using smaller dish. We haven’t tried it in a smaller size, but I would say same baking temp, and check on them at around 10 minutes, adjusting for more time if needed. Bake until the bread is a deep, golden brown, and the filling is bubbly. ~Jessica

    Reply
  3. momofthree

    I was looking to do something with my peaches and this recipe came up. Abolutely fantastic!!!! I didn’t have homemade bread, and used leftover whole grain Wonder bread (don’t judge me!) and it is perfection. I will make this again, for certain.

    Reply
  4. jenn0870

    So, if I wanted to do a lot of this for a crowd, and doubled or tripled it in a much larger, but shallow enough dish, I wonder how long I might have to bake it?

    Double this and bake in a 9 X 13 pan. Check after 30 minutes of baking at 350′ – look for the center to tell you if it’s ready by bubblin’ at you! Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  5. Kristine

    This is an awesome idea. My daughter has celiac disease and this would allow me to cut up some of her gluten free bread to use as the topping. Much easier and I always have gluten free bread on hand. Thank you.

    So glad to hear about a gluten free treat! So often we hear about the struggle/quest for gluten free desserts and we’re glad this cobbler will please your daughters palate. Happy GF Baking! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  6. suelynn

    The family is coming over tonight and I have been waiting to make this, YUM, YUM. Make homemade bread two days ago just to have on hand for this event. Will report later. Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *