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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

End of the Season

Well the season has finally turned here. A big storm hit the entirety of the west coast yesterday, bringing rain and wonderfully gusty winds. Leaves fell, rain jackets were soaked, and many just stayed home to avoid the nasty weather. After a brief time at the store, I came home to find Nancy in a cooking frenzy in the kitchen. Hey, it's not a bad way to spend the afternoon. With several recipe books open, she was simultaneously working on last night's dinner (Chicken Divine, an annual celebration of the end of rice harvest) and tonight's dinner (French Onion Soup). She mentioned that I should take a look at a recipe for peach cobbler because we had some leftover peaches going bad that were just dying to be made into a delicious dessert. Let me tell you - this peach cobbler is delicious! Plus, it's so easy to make that we did most of it in the dark by candlelight because the storm knocked out the power.

This peach cobbler recipe is James Beard's, of the cooking award fame. The combination of liquor with the peaches and tang from the batter yield a perfectly balanced cobbler ready to be gobbled up!

Start with  a good amount of peaches, preferably fresh but whatever you can get your hands on. For those of you in less favorable climates (Wisconsin), this may have to wait until June. This photo proves we were cooking by candlelight.

 Peel and slice about 4 cups of peaches. You can see Nancy and I used both white and yellow varieties.

To the sliced peaches, add 3 tablespoons bourbon (I had to use Crown Royal), 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (to soak up the peach juices while cooking).

Mix well to coat the peaches. Try not to nibble on this delicious concoction - it's for the cobbler, remember? Instead, drop it into a buttered 8x10 pan at least 2 inches deep.

Next, stir together the topping, as masterfully demonstrated here. See how most of those peaches made it into that glass pan? The topping is: 1 stick melted butter, 3 tablespoons sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, and 1 1/2 cups flour. The dough should resemble chocolate chip cookie dough before the chocolate chips.

Pat the dough unevenly over the peaches. Don't be afraid to leave some openings for the peaches. They'll thank you by getting nice and golden and gooey. When you're done, feel free to chill this for 30 minutes to let everything come together.

While the cobbler is coalescing in the fridge, toss together your favorite cinnamon-sugar mixture. Don't measure, just add a bit of each until you get the desired brownness of the mix.

Sprinkle that cinnamon-sugar topping liberally over the refrigerated cobbler. Bake for 25-30 minutes in a preheated oven at 425 degrees until the batter is golden brown.

Here's my finished product. If yours turns out a bit too gooey or liquid, just let it sit for a few minutes covered after coming out of the oven. Serve with vanilla ice cream for an amazing end to your night!

Don't miss this week's Sweet Basil and the Bee column in the Chico paper. I wrote it about rice harvest, a really awesome experience. You can read it here.

Eric Lovelin Photography


  1. It was a lovely afternoon, cozy and great-smelling in the kitchen while the wind howled outside and the lights flickered - captured perfectly in word and photos. N.

  2. The Big Storm didn't hit the entire west coast. All of Cali got soaked except for San Diego County, I was pissed!