It's that time of year in the South ... peach season! Believe it or not, I'm really not that big a peach fan. But when I get them fresh from the tree, that seems to change. Juicy, ripe, straight-from-the-tree peaches are wonderful little fruit jewels. And I'm fortunate enough to live where I can drive right up to a peach farmer's roadside stand and grab a basket ...
|Peaches at the farm stand|
... or, pick my own. Mark and I tend to go pick our own. We have four local peach orchards within a 15 minute drive of our house, and you can drive your car right into the orchard! How easy is that? I kid you not, from leaving our door to coming back home through it, it takes us all of about 45 minutes to an hour to pick our fill of fresh peaches. I'm spoiled. Definitely spoiled.
|We pick our own!|
My favorite way to enjoy fresh peaches is in this Brandied Peach Cobbler. (Well, after learning about chocolate vincotto, cobbler may be my second favorite way to enjoy fresh peaches ... but we won't quibble.) The peaches in this cobbler are spiced up with just a touch of brandy and ground cloves, lending a totally amazing flavor to the peaches. The topping is a bit different than your typical cobbler, too - it's like a sugar cookie dough that you drop on in spoonfuls. Absolutely delicious.
Slice up some peeled fresh peaches and toss them with a little sugar, cornstarch, brandy, and ground cloves. Bake them until they start to release juice ...
|All sliced up|
... and then drop on really yummy sugar cookie-like dough.
|Drop, drop, drop ...|
Bake that until it's golden brown. Then dish out a big ol' bowl and dig in! You can top it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, but I'll be honest - I like mine best just plain. I have one little dab of this pan left, and I'm going to go finish it up right now! Yum.
|Dish it up!|
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Brandied Peach Cobbler
2 lbs. fresh peaches
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 T. brandy
Pinch of ground cloves
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 c. sugar
8 T. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg yolk
Prepare the Filling:
1. Peel and pit peaches; cut into thick slices. Combine with sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, ground cloves, and brandy.
2. Please in a greased baking dish; cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees until peaches begin to release liquid - about 15 minutes. (Note: Let the peaches go the full 15 minutes. I tried to rush this one time, and my topping didn't cook correctly. I think the peaches need to be fully heated through when you put the topping on.)
Prepare the Topping:
3. While the peaches bake, mix flour, baking powder, and salt together; set aside.
4. Beat softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients just until combined.
5. After the peaches have cooked for about 15 minutes, remove them from the oven and stir them.
6. Drop topping dough by tablespoons evenly over the fruit (it won't cover every spot completely!). Return baking dish to the oven, uncovered, and bake until the topping is nicely browned and peaches are bubbly, about 40 minutes more.