I discovered peaches at the grocery store and it was the absolute highlight of my week. That’s all it takes to get me fired up these days, it’s about the small pleasures in life people.
We are getting our first taste of summer, both on the plate and with our latest dramatic shift in temperature – from snow in mid-May to balmy mid-twenties temperatures this week.
If I were a flat-Earther, I’d probably have thought that the government was controlling the weather to keep us housebound. It doesn’t exactly make me giddy to get out and have a picnic when it’s sleeting outside. Luckily, I don’t wear a tinfoil hat and know it’s just Canada.
I insisted my parents return from their winter home in Florida on March 15th and while they’re certainly glad to be back home, they have been a little raw about the slow start to spring.
With the Victoria Day long weekend now in the rearview, and warmer weather in store, it finally feels like we might be at the beginning of summer. As the physical distancing restrictions are now being relaxed in Ontario, bit by bit, I’m optimistic we’ll still be able to enjoy some of the things that make summers in Canada so great.
Over the weekend, I had a picnic in a park with my friend Erin – now that parks have been reopened. I’m hoping soon we’ll be able to access beaches and drink on patios.
This Peach Bourbon Biscuit Cobbler is summer incarnate. Fresh peaches, macerated in bourbon and Angostura bitters, and a flaky biscuit topping, what’s not to love?
This dessert is a bit of a labour of love, in terms of making the biscuits, but you’ll be handsomely rewarded for your efforts and anyone you serve this to will be elated by your commitment to pastry.
One of the things I’m really hoping happens this year is that my condo building will open the pool. Last year, due to a variety of mishaps and incompetence, the pool wasn’t open until the last week of September. In short, attempts to replace the waterproofing membrane on the pool went horribly awry and it took a dog’s age to get it done right.
As that was my first summer in the building, I’ll be crestfallen if I don’t get to make use of the pool for the second summer in a row. That being said, I’m not exactly in fighting form since I went from working out 8 times a week to working out 4 times in 9 weeks – so a little buffer room to squeeze back into my swimwear wouldn’t be the worst thing.
And maybe I should find some other folks to share this decadent cobbler with…or not.
Peach Bourbon Biscuit Cobbler
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for surface
- ½ cup 1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1⅓ cups chilled heavy cream
- 8 ripe peaches pitted and sliced
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup bourbon*
- 1 tbsp of Angostura bitters
- Pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
Whisk granulated sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, salt, and 2 cups flour in a medium bowl. Add butter and toss to coat. Quickly smash butter into flour mixture with your fingers, working until the largest pieces are about the size of a pea.
Gradually stream cream into bowl, tossing flour mixture constantly with a fork to distribute. Using a flexible bench scraper or a hard plastic spatula, fold dough over and onto itself several times, scraping bottom and sides of the bowl, to bring together into a mass (dough will feel very wet and sticky).
Turn out dough onto a generously floured surface. Pat into a ¾”-thick rectangle or square with floured hands, using bench scraper or spatula to lift up dough and dust underneath with more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Dust surface with more flour, then cut dough into 4 equal pieces and stack on top of each other. Dust with flour and press down on stack with a rolling pin to flatten to a workable height. Roll out to ½” thick, dusting with more flour as needed.
Use cutter to punch out biscuits as closely as possible, dipping cutter in flour often. Transfer biscuits to a plate. You should have about 40. Gather up dough scraps, reroll, and punch out more biscuits if needed. Chill until ready to use.
Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 400°.
In a large bowl toss together the peaches, bourbon, bitters, sugar, and salt in a large bowl, folding with a flexible spatula until well combined and set aside for at least 30 minutes for the peaches to macerate and juices to form.
Strain the peaches and mix the juices with the cornstarch. In a saucepan, cook the cornstarch mixture on low/medium heat until it is thick and translucent.
Add the thickened juices back to the peaches in a large bowl and allow to cool.
Scrape peaches and juices into a 9×9 baking dish.
Arrange chilled biscuits over filling, fitting snugly so they’re touching with only a few gaps. Brush generously with butter; sprinkle with raw sugar.
Bake cobbler 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and continue to bake until biscuits are golden brown and juices are bubbling, 50–65 minutes more. Let cool slightly. Serve cobbler with ice cream.
Biscuit recipe from: Saffitz, Claire. “Cherry Biscuit Cobbler.” Bon Appetit. June 2019.