A sophisticated summer cobbler
Vail CO, Colorado
Editor’s note: Living in the Colorado high country is pure joy. Baking in it isn’t. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips to make baking in the mountains successful.
If there is a Miss Congeniality of desserts, it’s got to be cobbler. Baked fresh fruit in a cake-like batter served warm with ice cream … everybody likes it.
So, this one is sure to please. It’s pretty to look at, easy to make, and, because of the inclusion of bourbon, just a bit more interesting and sophisticated than its non-alcoholic relatives.
The combination of peaches and blueberries is a good one; they complement each other visually, texturally and in taste. A bath in hot bourbon-sugar syrup enhances them even further. Don’t worry about the liquor overpowering the fruit, it’s quite subtle. Very few of those to whom I’ve served this dessert have even identified alcohol as an ingredient. Instead, they’ve noted a sweetness and complexity of taste, not knowing that it’s a result of the bourbon.
This dessert should definitely be served warm. However, you need not make it immediately before you plan to eat it. The cobbler can be prepared earlier in the day, cooled completely, and then re-warmed in a 325 degree oven or in a microwave when you are ready to serve it.
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Adjusted for altitudes between 8,000 and 10,000 feet
Make in a shallow glass pie pan that is 7 inches across the bottom and 9 inches across the top
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of sugar, divided
1 tablespoon of butter, softened
1 tablespoon of milk, room temperature
1/4 cup of bourbon
1 1/2 cups of fresh peaches, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
1/2 cup of fresh blueberries, rinsed and picked over
Vanilla ice cream
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the center position. Grease or butter the pie pan, including the lip around the top of the pan. (This will prevent any of the juices from sticking if they bubble over while baking.)
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and whisk to mix. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg and one-half cup of the sugar until thoroughly combined. Beat in the softened butter and the room-temperature milk until well blended. Sprinkle the flour mixture over this mixture and stir until just combined, no more. Pour the batter into the greased pie pan and level it.
Combine the bourbon with the remaining sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to simmer. Then, turn down the heat and simmer, stirring, for about four minutes. Add the peaches and blueberries and stir until all of the fruit is well coated with the syrup. Pour this hot mixture (both the fruit and the bourbon-sugar syrup) over the batter in the pie pan. Using a spoon, move the fruit around so that it’s evenly distributed over the surface of the batter.
Place the pie pan on a baking sheet (to catch any drips that may occur) and put both in the oven. Bake until the batter is firm to the touch, golden and cake-like. Start checking for doneness at about 28 minutes. Remove the cobbler from the oven when it is done and serve it warm with a scoop of ice cream.
This is a variation of a recipe in the “King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.”
Vera Dawson lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact Dawson with your comments about this column and/or your baking questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.