RECIPE: Summer peach and berry cobbler with towering buttermilk biscuits
Two weeks ago, an overzealous final order placed as a Good Eggs employee using the generous discount left me with a boatload of peaches at home (life update: I started a new job!).
Because I had recently almost booked a rehearsal dinner involving miniature peach cobblers, I was inspired to make a full-sized version with the plethora of stone fruit and berries I had on hand.
There’s a lot of debate in the baking world as to what makes a cobbler, a cobbler. Christine Gallary from The Kitchn has a great article on the different iterations of fruit + pastry-topped desserts, and I wholeheartedly agree with her: cobbler = topped with biscuits.
The beauty of fruit-based recipes like this cobbler lies in how easily you can swap in different spice(s) and fruit, and how precision isn’t as critical as it can be in other recipes. Often times, I simply eyeball the filling entirely, but I’ve included measurements below.
I paired the cobbler with homemade blackberry ice cream from BraveTart and also ate it the next morning as-is for breakfast; I repeatedly kept going back for more (a good sign in my book).
RECIPE: Peach and berry cobbler
Author: Kathleen Hayes; biscuit recipe adapted from Plow SF
Yield: 1, 10” skillet cobbler
9 medium yellow peaches (I used June Lady Yellow peaches from Galpin Family Farms via Good Eggs)
~½ - ¾ cup of berries (like a mixture of blackberries and sliced strawberries)
38 grams (3 tablespoons) organic sugar
9 grams (1 tablespoon + 1 ½ teaspoons) almond flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Biscuit, adapted from Plow SF
Note: I’ve listed European salted butter here because that’s what I have used recently, but I’ve made this recipe using unsalted “regular” butter and had great results, too, so don’t let that be a deterrent.
113g (1 stick) European salted butter, cubed (see note above) - leave in the fridge until you’re ready to use
300 grams (~2 ¼ cups) all purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt (¾ teaspoon if using unsalted butter)
240 grams (1 cup) buttermilk
A couple tablespoons of heavy cream, for cream wash atop the biscuits
10” cast iron skillet
Plastic bench scraper
Pastry brush (paint brush)
Preset the oven to 379 degrees F (or nearest interval).
Prepare the fruit filling:
Slice your peaches into thin wedges (10-12 wedges per peach), and thinly slice strawberries, if using. Other berries can remain whole.
Combine fruit with sugar, almond flour, ground ginger, and salt in a medium/large mixing bowl; mix until fruit is evenly coated with sugar mixture. Set aside, or get a head start and pour into your cast iron skillet.
Make the biscuits:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. I cheat and use my hand for this step - one fewer dish to wash.
Cube your butter straight out of the fridge, add it to your flour mixture, making sure each cube is coated in the dry ingredients.
Dump your mixture onto a clean countertop / surface and start smearing the butter with the palm of your hand, pushing the mixture away from you, causing the butter to both break up and form thin streaks. This method is called fraissage - check out THIS video for what it looks like in action. I was first exposed to it in pastry school and became a huge fan for biscuits (and pie) because it doesn’t require any equipment and it produces extreme flakiness.
Once you’ve pushed the pile away from you by smearing each piece of butter, scrape together the mixture so it’s in a nice pile close to you again and repeat the same steps 3-4 times until the largest pieces of butter are broken up into small (dime-sized) pieces.
Put the mixture back into your mixing bowl and pour in the buttermilk.
Before you dirty your hands up again, sprinkle flour on the surface your were just using to fraissage.
Next, pretend your hands are salad utensils tossing a salad and gently incorporate the buttermilk with the flour+butter mixture until the liquid is incorporated. Beware: this is a sticky dough!
Dump the dough onto your floured surface and pat out with your hands into a rectangle until it’s about an inch thick. At this point, use your bench scraper to cut your rectangle in half and stack one piece on top of the other. Repeat this process of patting down / cutting in half / stacking 4-5 times -- this ensures distinct layers in the bake!
On your final pat down, ensure your dough is ~¾” thick, and use a biscuit cutter to cut out round biscuit. After cutting out your first round, carefully reassemble the remaining dough, pat it down again, and cut additional biscuits until you’ve used up everything. Using a 2” biscuit cutter, I get 8-9 biscuits.
Place your fruit mixture into the cast iron skillet.
Top your filling with your biscuits.
Use a pastry brush to brush cream on the top of each biscuit.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the fruit is bubbling and the biscuits are a nice golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before eating. Enjoy!
Use any combination of fruit and spices -- leave a comment with any fun combinations you try!
Make your biscuits larger or smaller, depending on how many people you want to serve with this
Incorporate fresh rosemary or basil into the biscuits or filling for more aromatics