By Marilyn Noble
I think the love affair started when I was a kid growing up in Bisbee. A few miles away is the fertile Sulphur Springs Valley, the fruit and vegetable capital of Southern Arizona. In the summer we always had fresh peaches from the Valley, and my mom turned the bounty into pies, cobblers, ice cream, and other assorted treats. One year, the Valley suffered a devastating hail storm, and my grandfather kept showing up on our doorstep with bushels of hail-damaged peaches. I think he paid about a quarter a bushel because they were in pretty bad shape. We peeled and cooked and canned and froze peaches until we couldn’t stand them anymore. But even that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm.
Now I’m fortunate to live in Colorado, where we have some of the finest peaches anywhere. Palisade peaches are in the stores and at the farmers markets now, and it’s really tempting to buy a whole bushel and can and freeze them. I’ve so far exercised restraint and instead made one of my favorite desserts, peach blueberry cobbler. Served warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, it just doesn’t get any better.
The nice thing about this cobbler is that you can experiment with fruit combinations. Peach raspberry is tasty, so is peach blackberry. Of course, if you’re a purist, you can leave the berries out and just enjoy the peaches. And if you don’t like peaches, you can also make it with plums or apples. For apples, substitute a teaspoon of cinnamon for the ginger.
Adjust the sugar based on the sweetness of the fruit and your own taste. I like mine with a little less sugar so the flavor of the fruit comes through, but if you have a batch of tart peaches, add a little more.
I don’t have a picture of a serving with ice cream, because by the time the cobbler had cooled a little, it had disappeared. I’m not the only one in the house who craves it.
Peach Blueberry Cobbler
10 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches
1 pint fresh blueberries
½ cup sugar, adjusted for taste
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup plus one tablespoon flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
½ cup melted butter, slightly cooled
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish.
In a large bowl, gently combine the peaches, berries, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, flour, and ginger. Pour into the prepared baking dish and dot with 1 tablespoon butter. Place the dish on a baking pan to catch any drips. Bake uncovered until hot and bubbly, about 45 minutes.
Just before the fruit is finished, make the topping. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg, milk, and butter. Add the liquids to the flour mixture and stir until combined, taking care not to overmix.
Remove the fruit from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F. Pour the topping over the fruit and place back in the oven. Bake for another 45 minutes until the topping is slightly puffed and golden brown.
Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
Marilyn Noble is Rio Nuevo’s cookbook and blog editor, and has written four cookbooks including Southwest Comfort Food and The Essential Southwest Cookbook. She is also the co-chair of the Southwest/Mountain Ark of Taste committee and the Colorado governor for Slow Food USA. This recipe is from Southwest Comfort Food.