Classic Peach Cobbler à la mode: fire and ice

I have to confess, it’s with great temerity that I venture into territory where I have no business being:

Southern cooking.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Southern food. My brother’s lived in rural Georgia for over 30 years, and his wife is a superior cook of all things Southern, from collard greens with bacon, to cornbread, barbecue, okra, black-eyed peas, and mac & cheese.

And biscuits. Tender, high-rising biscuits, dripping with butter and honey or stuffed with bits of smoky ham.

If the Great Baker in the Sky were to come on down here and raise the question right now, “Who knows how to bake biscuits?”, this New England gal would timidly raise her hand.

But a great biscuit baker I’m not.

Nor do I claim to know anything at all about cobbler, which to me is a quintessential Southern dessert.

Especially peach cobbler; and especially in Georgia, the Peach State.

Thus my hesitation about baking peach cobbler. It’s foreign territory; dare I go there?

In the end, the call of peaches proved too much; I LOVE LOVE LOVE peaches, in all their guises.

Fresh peaches are the most beautiful fruit imaginable. A perfectly ripe peach, with its compelling combination of sweet/tart and  juicy/firm, is simply heavenly.

I happily make peach pie, peach scones, peach muffins… even peach sorbet.

So why not peach cobbler?

I mean, if you’re scared of biscuits, what better way to hide any potential faux pas than in a panful of simmering peaches?

Luckily, I remembered a biscuit I’d made and enjoyed a few years ago, and decided to try it again, atop peaches. It was the perfect choice – no surprise, since the recipe came from a Southern baker, David Lee.

Our online baking forum, bakingcircle.com, was graced almost from the beginning by David, a baker who loved sharing his recipes, tips, and baking lore, and was known for his calm, friendly online presence.

David has sadly passed away, but his cream biscuits — which we use in this recipe — live on.

Thanks, again, David. You’re the inspiration behind this Classic Peach Cobbler.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ round pan.

Combine the following in a mixing bowl:

2 pounds fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced (4 heaping cups); or 2 pounds frozen sliced peaches, thawed
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup King Arthur Pie Filling Enhancer
1/8 teaspoon salt

If you don’t have any Pie Filling Enhancer – well, give it a try sometime! This combination of extra-fine sugar, thickener, and ascorbic acid improves both the flavor of the fruit, and provides the necessary thickening.

But for the time being, go ahead and replace it with 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with the sugar before adding to the fruit. If you do make this substitution, increase the sugar in the recipe to 3/4 cup.

Did you know that by clicking anywhere on this block of pictures, you can enlarge them to full size? Go ahead, give it a try; it’ll work for any of our gridded photos.

Next, the biscuit topping. Whisk or sift together 2 cups Perfect Pastry Blend or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 2 teaspoons sugar.

What’s the difference between our all-purpose flour, and our Perfect Pastry Blend? The Blend is a “soft,” lower protein flour: 10.3%, compared to our AP flour’s 11.7%. It’ll make biscuits that are slightly more tender.

Stir in 1 to 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, to moisten the dough thoroughly. You’ll probably use about 1 cup in the summer, 1 1/4 cups in the winter, and 1 cup + 2 tablespoons at the turn of the seasons. You want to be able to gather the dough together, squeeze it, and have it hang together, without dry bits falling off.

Pat the dough into a lightly greased 9″ round pan. Use a 2″ round biscuit cutter to cut as many biscuits as you can, leaving them in the pan.

Turn the pan over onto a lightly greased or lightly floured surface, rapping it a few times to make the dough fall out. Lift off the pan, pick up the cut biscuits, and space them atop the peach filling.

You’ll have leftover biscuit dough; shape it into additional biscuits to bake separately, if desired.

Brush the biscuits with milk or butter, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.

Bake the cobbler for 45 to 50 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the biscuits are golden brown.

Remove the cobbler from the oven, and let it rest at room temperature for about 20 to 30 minutes before serving; this allows the filling to set somewhat.

Don’t worry, it’ll still be warm when you serve it.

Scoop the cobbler into serving dishes, including a biscuit with each serving. Top with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Classic Peach Cobbler.

Print just the recipe.

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. Julie

    This looks delectable! Any thoughts on how it would work in individual ramekins? Do you think it would work better to make a teeeeny single biscuit and put it on top, or just a couple of small blops of the dough, unshaped?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We love the idea of mini-cobblers, Julie, and think it should work just fine. Either a small, cut-out biscuits or a couple of small drops of dough should work, just be sure not to make the “drops” or the biscuit too thick or it may be hard to get it to bake all the way through. Have fun with it! Mollie@KAF

  2. anne

    Would love to make this for large family 4th of July Party. Can I make it in a large lasagna baker? If so should I double the fruit recipe? I can bake an extra pan full of biscuits. The next question is perhaps too strange. Can I bake the filling the day before, let it cool overnight and then bake the biscuits separately and put them still warm on top of the cobbler for a 1 hour road trip? I don’t want the biscuits to get too soggy.
    Thank you,

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Anne, this would be a perfect 4th of July dessert! (We’re impressed to hear you are planning so far ahead, by the way!) If you would like to make this recipe in a 9″ x 13″ pan, you will need to double the whole recipe, both the filling and the biscuit components. As for baking the biscuits separately, you can certainly use the method you described, baking the filling and biscuits separately and then topping the peaches before serving. This will make the dessert more like a shortcake with a peach filling rather than a cobbler. I personally love when a cobbler’s topping soaks up the fruit juice and softens and melts into the deliciousness of the peaches…but if you don’t prefer this texture, than feel free to bake them separately. Either way, you are going to have a tasty fruit cobbler to celebrate the 4th with! Happy baking and happy early 4th of July! Kye@KAF

  3. Julie

    Do you have any suggestions for preparing this ahead of time? I would like to take it to a family gathering, but need to make it the day ahead. Would it hold up well? Love the blog, thank you so much for your hard work and inspiration!

    This will stand a 1 day hold. Rewarm the cobbler, covered, before service. Frank @ KAF

    Reply
  4. "Mia H"

    Beautiful! Beautiful! My guy loves his mom’s and aunts’ peach cobbler. I tried making one once. He claimed it was good, but the look on his face (and amount he ate) suggests otherwise. I’m definitely going to give this a try.

    Any tips on peeling and pitting fresh peaches? Does this bake in a regular cake pan?

    Blanche fresh peaches for easy peeling before pitting. Yes, bake this in a 9″ X 2″ deep cake pan. Frank @ KAF.

    Mia, check out our peach pie blog for step-by-step photos of blanching/peeling peaches. Works like a charm! PJH

    Reply
  5. omaria

    PJ , You know I have not been a baker very long. I just came here after David died and I know how sad every body was . K2Q was one of his great friends. She would be very happy to know you gave credit to him for these biscuits. In his honor I’ll have to try this. Thank you. Ria.

    Reply

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