Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This Peach Cobbler Not the Work of a Shoemaker

I’m afraid the expression is quickly dying out, but there was a time when being called a “shoemaker” was the ultimate kitchen insult. It meant that your cooking skills were so weak, the cobbler down the street could have taken a break from resoling wingtips, come into the kitchen, and done just as well.

That little culinary history lesson has absolutely nothing to do with this beautiful peach cobbler, but I’ve been trying to keep the saying alive, and it gave me an excuse to share. Ironically, this recipe is so easy any shoemaker could master it.

I have to thank everyone who chimed in last week when I asked for cobbler recipes and inspiration. I received so many great variations and techniques, and while I didn’t use any one single recipe, I definitely used parts of several.

I hope you don’t have much trouble finding fresh ripe peaches this time of year, but if you can’t, this will still be very nice using canned. Speaking of finding ingredients, one thing I learned from my research was that for whatever reason, self-rising flour was the way to go.

No one could quite explain it, but cook after southern cook report that the self-rising flour performs much better than plain with salt and baking powder added in (see ingr. below). Do you have a theory? Maybe most people’s baking powder is so old it’s not as strong as the leavening in a freshly purchased bag of SR flour? What I do know is how nicely this turned out.

Anyway, I’m going to kick off my shoes, put up my feet, and savor the last of this delicious cobbler. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Reports from people trying this are that the ones made with self-rising flour came out awesome, and the ones using regular flour didn't work well at all. Fair warning! Get some self-rising flour!

For the peaches:
5-6 cups sliced peaches (if you use canned peaches, do not make the syrup)
1/8 tsp Chinese 5-spice
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 cup water
1 cups sugar
For the batter:
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (real butter! Do NOT use margarine!)
1 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (or 1 1/2 cup AP flour, plus 2 1/2 tsp baking powder and 3/4 tsp salt - NOTE: this does not work as well...get some self-rising flour!)
1 1/2 cups milk

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