Peach-Vanilla Bean Cobbler

I’d been waiting for months to make this. I gobbled up the last bite last night, and now it’s time to share. You still have time to try it. Tables at the farmers market are nearly buckling from the weight of peaches. They’re at their prime. But in about two weeks, they’ll disappear for an entire year. Last summer I made a lattice peach pie that was amaaaaazing.  It deserved a repeat performance. But last weekend Jeff started itching for a cobbler.  I considered the options. Blackberries. Blueberries. Peaches. Nectarines.

I kept coming back to peaches.

This recipe comes from the Art and Soul of Baking, a terrific book I checked out from our library recently. I don’t want to part with it. The peach cobbler has convinced me that I need my own copy.

The peaches in this cobbler are mixed with sugar and a vanilla bean. Let me tell you, if you’ve never had peaches with a vanilla bean you’re missing out. It brings out the sweetness of the peaches like nothing else. The lattice is made with scone dough. It’s more foolproof than pie dough and arguably more delicious.  Atop sweet, warm, and summery peaches, it’s hard to beat. Serve warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche.

Peach-Vanilla Bean Cobbler
The Art & Soul of Baking

1 recipe Cream Scone dough, see below
2 1/4 pounds ripe peaches, peeled or not according to your taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for the lattice
1 vanilla bean, or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch or tapioca flour, or 4 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour

Make the filling: Cut peaches into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer to a large bowl. If peaches are sweet and ripe, use only 1/4 cup sugar (or less). If tart or under-ripe, use up to an additional 1/4 cup. Place the sugar in a small bowl. Use the tip of the paring knife to split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds into the sugar. Rub the mixture together with your fingers until the seeds are evenly dispersed. Pour over the fruit. Add the lemon juice and cornstarch (and the vanilla extract, if using) and gently toss with the spatula until all the fruit is evenly coated. Press the fruit into the baking dish in an even layer.

Make the lattice: Dust your work surface and the top of the dough with flour. Roll the dough into a 16-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Rotate the dough slightly each time you roll — this will help you roll the dough into an even circle and will alert you immediately when the dough is sticking to the surface. If it does stick, gently use a bench scraper to release the dough, lifting it off the surface and adding a bit more flour to the surface to prevent further sticking.

Cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch wide strips. The strips toward the center fo the circle will be longer than the strips toward the edges and this is fine. You will use the longer strips in the center of your baking dish when weaving the lattice, and the shorter strips near the edges of the dish.

Weave the lattice: Gently lift the strips and place half of them about 1/2-inch apart across the top of the fruit, letting any excess dough fall over the edge of the dish for the moment. Fold every other strip back halfway, exposing the fruit underneath. Precisely at that halfway point, place a strip of dough perpendicular, laying it over the unfolded strips. Unfold the folded strips, laying them over the new strip of dough. Fold back the strips that were left flat the first time, and place another new strip of dough over the fruit and flat strips of dough. Straighten and tighten the dough each time you do this so your lattice looks even. Continue until you reach the edge of the pan, then turn and weave the other half of the lattice. Once the lattice if finished, use a knife to trim any overhanging dough flush with the pan. Chill for 20 minutes.

Bake and serve: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position an oven rack in the center. Sprinkle the lattice evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. You may want to place a baking sheet or a piece of foil under the cobbler to catch any juices that may bubble over. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the topping is nicely browned and the fruit is bubbling and soft. Serve warm or at room temperature, accompanied by ice cream or creme fraiche.

Cream Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup (8 ounces) chilled heavy whipping cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon sugar

Place flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 10 seconds to blend well. Add the cold butter pieces and pulse 5 times at 1-second intervals, or until the butter is cut into medium pieces. Add the cream and pulse another 20 times, or until the dough holds together in small, thick clumps. Use a spatula to scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently squeeze clumps together until they form a cohesive dough.


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