I bought 4 large peaches from a neighborhood vegetable and fruit stand. It’s the middle of a hot summer and a great time for a peach cobbler. There is a recipe for it by Miss S. Alice Melching in my cookbook from 1877.
Alice’s original recipe made a cobbler 9×18 so I halved the ingredients. It called for canned fruit so I cooked the peaches.
Peel and slice the peaches. Put them in a kettle with just enough water to cover them. Cook over medium heat. When it comes to a low boil, continue cooking about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. The water has become a very light syrup.
To make pie crust for the cobbler, add 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Melt 2 tablespoons of lard (I used Crisco shortening) and stir into the dry ingredients. Stir in 2/3 to ¾ cup of milk or water (I used milk) until it is the right consistency for pie crust, which is not too wet and all dry ingredients have been incorporated.
Divide the dough into 2 sections—roughly 1/3 and 2/3. The smaller section is the top crust.
Lightly flour the surface and rolling pin. Then roll into a thin pie crust. Arrange it on the bottom and sides of your dish (I used a 9×9 casserole dish.)
Mix 3 tablespoons of flour with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Sprinkle this over the crust to keep the fruity filling from seeping into the lower crust.
With slotted spoon, remove peaches from kettle. Arrange these over the crust. I took ¼ cup of the syrupy peach water and poured it over the peaches. The original recipe didn’t call for this, but this small amount of liquid added flavor and moisture without destroying the crust.
Sprinkle ¾ cup sugar over the peaches.
Roll out the rest of the dough and place it over the top. A lattice top will work nicely too.
Bake at 400 for 25 – 30 minutes or lightly browned.
The peaches cooked perfectly except … there weren’t enough of them. I’d double the amount of peaches for the same sized dish next time. Adding extra syrup (cooking water) to the dish was an excellent call. I added ¼ cup—next time I’d do at least ½ cup, especially with more fruit.
The cobbler tasted delicious, with a wonderful peach aroma and flavor. I will make this summery dessert again.
Blackberries, apples, and other fruit can be substituted. If using fresh fruit, cook the fruit for about 5 minutes as above; if canned, there is no need to cook it before baking.
-Sandra Merville Hart
Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.