Adapted from The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from Texas Hill Country's Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe by Rebecca Rather with Alison Oresman Being a pastry chef, Rebecca gives the cobbler a chef's touch and browns the butter to ramp up the flavor, rather than just using melted butter. If you don't want to brown the butter, you can use melted butter. I toggled a few of the ingredients in the original recipe, adding a little cinnamon to the peaches and some lemon zest to the batter. I dialed down the brown sugar in the topping to 4 tablespoons but you could cut it down to 2 tablespoons, or omit it entirely. I did like the nice crust it 4 tablespoons gave it though. You could add some fresh or frozen berries to the peach mix, although am not sure they're authentic to the Texas original. Cherries, sweet or sour, would work as well. And I'm thinking of giving this a try with plums when they come into season. If you don't have an 8-inch square baking pan you could use a similar-sized baking dish or cast-iron skillet. Rebecca is now the chef at Emma + Ollie, in Fredericksburg, Texas.
4 ounces (115g) unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup (140g) flour
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk, whole or lowfat
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups sliced, peeled peaches (about 5 medium peaches)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC.) Melt the butter in a skillet, watching it carefully and swirling it gently. When it starts to take on a light brown color and smells a little nutty, and the bubbles begin to subside, pour the browned butter into an 8-inch (20cm) square baking pan, leaving the blackened bits back in the skillet.
2. In a medium bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt with a whisk. Add the milk and vanilla extract, and stir until smooth.
3. Pour the milk mixture over the butter in the pan without stirring. (Don't worry, the batter will rise up over the peaches as they are baking.) Toss the peach slices with the cinnamon and strew them over the batter in an even layer. Crumble the brown sugar over the top and baking until the top is golden brown and the center of the cobbler feel just set, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Note: For information about brown sugar, flour, and other baking ingredients, check out my post, American Baking in Paris.
Serving and storage: Serve warm or at room temperature on its own, with whipped cream, crème fraîche, or with vanilla ice cream. The cobbler is best served the day it is made but can be kept overnight. This isn't a fancy dessert so don't count on getting neatly sliced portions of it. You can spoon it in a bowl, as I did.
Rebecca is now the chef at Emma + Ollie, in Fredericksburg, Texas.