As I fell asleep in front of the television on Friday evening I thought I would safely wake up before any truly ruinous food would be displayed before my eyes. It was silly of me. I put on Tyler’s Ultimate on the food network because I knew it would put me to sleep. He was making pulled pork sandwiches but I knew that although I love pulled pork I would never ever in a million years want to make a seven pound pork shoulder. But when I woke up, there was something being made in an iron skillet that I really didn’t need to know existed.
I love my cast iron skillets. They are sturdy. They add iron to the food I cook in them. They have a non-stick surface from years of cooking and careful seasoning. Whenever I see a recipe that takes great advantage of my cast iron cookware, I perk up and take notice.
What was Tyler Florence cooking that made me so suddenly awake and yelling for my boyfriend to drop what he was doing and “come look at this”? Bourbon Peach Cobbler! There was real butter. Juicy peaches. Bourbon! There was cream and more butter and cinnamon and sugar. We both sat there transfixed. I exclaimed, “I’m going to make bourbon peach cobbler!”
The peaches have been just gorgeous at the Farmers Market all summer. I had wanted to buy some but hadn’t gotten around to it. I have now been on WeightWatchers for seven weeks and I am doing quite well on it. I have lost eleven pounds already. But…I should be eating peaches, not peach cobbler. After putting the ingredients into the W.W. software to find out how bad the recipe really is I find out that I can have ten giant peaches for one piece of peach cobbler. I am not deterred. My boyfriend loves all things baked fruit and crust. He is the kind of man whose appetite allows him to eat an entire peach cobbler and his metabolism allows him to not gain a pound. I know he will save me from this foolishness. Even if he can’t, I read the words of a wise woman the other day and I have taken them to heart. This wise soul said that she orders a dessert and shares it with a friend. She eats the first bite, has her friend keep eating and then she eats the last bite. How many peaches are two bites? It seems to be two and a half giant peaches. It’s amazing how something so wholesome can become Frankenstein’s dietary monster with just a little alchemical slight of hand. I can live with two bites a day until the monster is defeated.
Oh, and by the way. The recipe on the food network site has errors. There was no measurement for the cream needed in the crust! I had to watch the show over again to get the right measurement. I was sitting there looking at the sandy stuff in the food processor and realized I had no liquid. Thank goodness for cable on demand so that I could replay the show. I also made some adjustments: I decided to change the heavy cream for half and half. I also decided not to dust the cobbler with extra sugar. I used Jack Daniels, which seems to be considered whisky, not bourbon. Also, the baking time needed to be reduced to 35 minutes. The cobbler came out amazing. The biscuit crust has the tenderest crumb I have ever tasted. You really need to make this cobbler before the summer ends!
Bourbon Peach Cobbler
Adapted from Tyler Florence’s recipe on the Food Network
6 large or 8 medium peaches, peeled and sliced
¼ cup Jack Daniels or bourbon
¾ cup evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ cups unbleached white flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
12 tbsp (1 ½ cups) cold unsalted butter plus two more tbsp for the skillet
2/3 cup of half and half or heavy cream, plus a couple tbsp extra
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
To peel peaches: Cut an “X” on the bottom of each peach with a paring knife. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Drop in peaches and boil for 30 seconds. Transfer the peaches to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. The peels should easily peel off the peaches. Slice the peaches and put them in a large bowl.
Mix the peaches with the whiskey or bourbon, ¼ cup of the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Mix well and then let sit so that the fruit macerates in the syrup while you make the crust.
The crust is made in a food processor. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the bowl of the processor. Cut the 1 ½ cups of cold butter into pieces and add it to the dry ingredients. Process this mixture until it resembles wet sand. Add the half and half or cream and process until the dough just comes together (being careful not to over mix). The dough will be sticky.
Melt the remaining two tbsp butter in a large cast iron skillet. Add the peach mixture and cook over medium heat for five minutes until the fruit begins to soften and the juices thicken a little. Drop the biscuit dough by the tablespoon onto the top of the fruit. There will be gaps but the dough will spread and puff as it bakes. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of half and half over the top of the dough (To moisten, this gives the dough a bit of a custardy consistency when it bakes. Tyler Florence sprinkled the cream instead of brushing it like the web instructions said to when he presented the recipe on his show). Place a cookie sheet on the second rack of the oven to catch drips and place the skillet on the top rack. Bake for 35 minutes or so, until the biscuits are evenly browned and a toothpick poked into the crust comes out clean. Serve warm or cooled.