Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ginger Peach Pecan Cobbler

I love peaches! And living in Georgia in the summertime means lots of great local fresh peaches, which in turn means lots of peach cobbler! Delicious!  Some people like to debate whether a cobbler with a pie style crust is truly a cobbler, or if only cobblers made with a biscuit like topping is deserving of the "cobbler" moniker. I am a southern girl, born and bred, and I will tell you  both crust and biscuit style cobblers are indeed worthy of being called cobblers. The only cobbler I think should be called something else is the one Paula Deen serves in her restaurant. I think it's more like a peach bread pudding. I am not a fan of mushy cobblers. 
For a while now I've attempted to make a  good peach-ginger cobbler because I love the combined flavors of gingers and peaches. I finally found a balance I like and so I decided to post the final recipe. I also decided I wanted a little more "crunch" and texture in the cobbler so I added toasted pecans ( and besides, I still had  half a bag of pecan pieces left over from the cookies I made a few days ago, which I wanted to be sure did not go to waste.) I think it was a really good addition.  I will warn you: making a cobbler with a homemade crust is time consuming, but so very worth it. So make this cobbler on a day you can and will enjoy spending a few hours in the kitchen.   As for the crust, I prefer a butter crust because I think it has better flavor and flakiness than a shortening based crust. The pie crust I use, and love, is one I picked up from Smitten Kitchen, so click on the link and go to her tutorial and recipe on pie crusts. It's a great read! And then get ready to make your cobbler! 

Ginger Peach Pecan Cobbler

For Crust:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold
1 cup water with 3 or 4 added ice cubes 

For Cobbler:

6 cups of peeled and sliced ripe peaches
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4- 1/2 tsp Ginger (to your taste. I used 1/2 tsp, but tat may be too much for some people)
1/3 cup butter (unsalted)
1 cup of toasted pecans 
9 inch square pan 

First, make your dough. It will need to chill for at least an hour before you roll it so you have to plan ahead. You can also make it the night before. Just make sure you wrap it in plastic wrap to chill so it doesn't pick up odors and flavors from the fridge.  I don't have photos of this part, but like I said, go to Smitten Kitchen and she will show you the ropes if you don't normally make your own crust. 

So, in a large bowl whisk or use your pastry cutter to combine flour, sugar and salt. Slice the butter into 1 inch cubes and cut it into your flour mixture with a pastry cutter. If you don't have a pastry cutter, just use 2 forks. Keep working this mixture, cutting in the butter, until the dough starts to look "chunky"- the butter will still be in small pieces. Thats fine. 
Now, drizzle about 1/4 cup of water onto the dough and mix with a rubber spatula. Keep adding water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough starts to form into large chunks when stirred. Bring the dough together  in a ball and knead.  If it falls all apart and wont stick, that means you need more water, add more a very little bit at a time.  The crust will still be somewhat dry when you make it, but it will clump together once it has enough water. Once you get it to the right consistency, roll it into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge. 

Now, you are ready to start on the cobbler. Yummy. So, peel and slice up 6 cups of ripe peaches and place in a dutch oven. For me, this took about 9 or 10 peaches, and I may have even stolen a few slices to eat for myself.  Then add the sugar, flour, nutmeg, and ginger and stir it all together. Allow it to sit until a syrup forms (see photo below); this will only take 10 minutes or so. Put dutch oven on a burner at about medium high heat and bring mixture to a boil. Turn heat to low and cook until peaches are tender. Add butter and vanilla, stir until butter is melted. 

Stir in your toasted pecans and then you are ready to assemble the cobbler. But steal a peach slice first and make sure you get a piece of pecan in there too. Mmmm... 

Roll half of your dough to about 1/8 inch thick and cut into a 9 inch square. Set aside. Grease pan and add in half of your peach mixture then top with pastry. Bake at 475 for 12-15 minutes (until crust starts to turn golden brown). I took a picture of mine but forgot to take the picture until after I already started adding the second layer of peaches. But, anyway, it gives you an idea of what the crust should look like:

Add the rest of your peach mixture to the pan. Roll out the rest of your dough and cut into 1 inch strips and the top your cobbler with crust, applying it in a lattice pattern.  Bake another 15 minutes, or until golden brown. 

And you are done! Now, serve to your family while still warm. Delicious!

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