Almost a month ago now, I had a birthday. Though I’ve posted a cake for my own birthday before, cake isn’t really my thing — I like cakes well enough, and will never turn them down, but I like crusts more than most other baked things, so pies and cobblers are my favorite desserts to eat. And so, since the peaches have been DELECTABLE this year, I made myself a peach cobbler.
But no, I couldn’t be content with just the peaches, could I? Because earlier this summer one of the groceries had had a superb sale on blueberries, so even while I was slicing peaches I was thinking of that big gallon bag of frozen blueberries in the basement deepfreeze, just begging to come upstairs and get in the mix with these juicy, blushing Ohio peaches.
And then I had to play around with the crust. I grew up eating peach cobblers on Boy Scout campouts, canned peaches poured in a Dutch oven, covered in a layer of boxed yellow cake batter, and nestled in the coals of a campfire. And while I have very fond memories of those cobblers, (1) remember that thing about crust?; (2) Jarod always wants a biscuit crust, always — and honestly he’s right. So I threw one together, adding a bit of warm spices to the biscuits to elevate the whole thing and make it worthy of a birthday treat.
And oh! was it ever worthy. The fruits were sweet, but not treacly so; the juices were a rich, vibrant magenta. The sweet biscuits cooked up puffy and crunchy and brown, and their subtle spiciness made them almost irresistible.
So it was a damn shame that August was completely off the rails, and I went longer without posting than I have since I started this blog. I’d feel a little guilty every time I looked at my to-do list, where this post sat forlornly, uncrossed. But August is over, we’re back on the rails, and here in the States we have a long weekend coming. It’s time to grab the late summer peaches and blueberries and make a Labor Day treat. Me, I’ll make one and celebrate my 34th birthday monthiversary. That’s a thing, right?
Peach-blueberry cobbler with a spiced biscuit crust
It’s probably a little over-prideful to say this is the *perfect* late summer cobbler, so let’s just say it’s a really, really good one. Sweet juicy peaches meet plump blueberries to make a sweet-tart, bright magenta filling, and the whole thing’s crowned with a layer of sweet spiced biscuits. Birthday, weekend picnic, random Tuesday: whatever the occasion, I am there for this cobbler.
Adapted/inspired by: Daniel Gritzer’s Classic Biscuit-Topped Peach Cobbler; I remade this a few different ways, to the extent that I can’t be entirely sure to what extent this recipe is the ‘source’, but certainly there’s some level of debt owed.
2 lb peaches (around 6 medium)
2 c blueberries (about 1/2 lb)
1/2 c sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp almond extract (opt.)
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mace (or nutmeg)
12 Tbsp cold butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 c buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Slice peaches — you can peel them if you want, but I don’t bother — and combine with the other filling ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until juices bubble, thicken, and become clear. Remove from heat and pour into 9″ x 13″ baking dish.
For the biscuit topping, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and mace in a large bowl. Slice the chilled butter into pats and toss in the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, a couple of knives, or your own two hands, cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are no pieces larger than a pea. Pour in the milk and stir until just combined.
Drop spoonfuls of the biscuit dough over the filling. There will be gaps, which is fine — the biscuits will spread. Smooth any tall peaks of dough so the surface is mostly the same height. Bake for 40 minutes, until the biscuits are nicely browned and the juices have bubbled up around them. Let cool 30 minutes or so, for the filling to rethicken.
Ingredient subs: you can sub in regular milk for the buttermilk, or for that matter you can use a non-dairy milk, to which you can add a tablespoon of lemon juice if you’d like it more buttermilk-like. No mace? No problem; use nutmeg instead. Fresh peaches out of season? Use 4-5 cups frozen instead.
This ratio gives about equal weight to filling and topping, which I like. If you’d like to be heavier on balance toward the fruit, feel free to increase all the filling ingredients proportionally, up to doubling them.
Don’t need a full 3 quart pan of cobbler? Cut everything in half and use an 8″ square dish.