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Nanny’s Peach Cobbler: Accept no substitutes.

Among this summer’s Lessons Learned: Do not forsake your grandmother’s recipes.

Facing a peach glut a few weeks ago, I decided that it was cobbler time. I’ve always loved peach cobbler, straight out of the oven or the refrigerator, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or eaten plain.

Peach cobbler is, quite simply, the dessert of summer.

It’s also the dessert of chaos. Done right, it’s a gooey mess, making it a less-than-friendly offering at the office, and I certainly didn’t need an entire peach cobbler haunting me every night at home.

Ramekins to the rescue.

I LOVE making things in ramekins. They can make individual servings out of almost any recipe.

The plan: Make six individual peach cobblers. Two for me, two for the husband and two for the generous co-worker who shared his peach bounty.

I’m not sure why I thought that my grandmother’s cobbler recipe wasn’t up to the task. It was probably a decision brought on by over-research, since I was originally trying to find a cobbler recipe that gave instructions for ramekins. At any rate, I finally narrowed in on Southern Plate’s recipe for peach cobbler.

It was tasty, but it wasn’t the peach cobbler I was looking for.

Southern Plate’s Peach Cobbler: It’s delicious, but it’s not the recipe for me.

Two weeks later, facing another pile of peaches, I didn’t even turn on the computer. I went to my recipe collection and flipped straight to my grandmother’s peach cobbler recipe.

The results: Six individual peach cobblers that tasted like a carefree summer afternoon on my grandparents’ farm.

Nanny’s Peach Cobbler

  • 1 quart (4 cups) fresh peaches, chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 stick butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease six ramekins with butter.

Stir together the peaches, sugar and 2 tbsp. flour. Divide the mixture evenly among ramekins (you can probably stretch it out to eight if you want slightly smaller servings). In a medium mixing bowl, cut 1 cup flour in with butter; stir in milk. Spoon mixture evenly on top of the peach mixture in each ramekin.

Bake for approximately 30 to 35 minutes until the crusts are golden brown.

Note: I like cinnamon with my peaches, so I sprinkled probably 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in with the peaches. I also sprinkled a dash of cinnamon sugar on top of every cobbler before baking; as you can see in the top photo, this really just resulted in some darker spots on the crust. I’ll probably add an entire teaspoon of cinnamon to the fruit next time.

And the peaches that don’t get turned into cobbler? They get chopped up and stirred into a simmering pot of steel-cut oats with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon and a spoonful of brown sugar. Best oatmeal ever.

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I made our annual king cake today with a recipe from Southern Plate that called for frozen bread dough. It was a cinch to make compared to my traditional recipe, which calls for making the dough, letting the dough rise, punching down the dough, letting the dough rise yet again, rolling and shaping the dough, letting it rise again, baking the cake, and finally decorating the cake. If it sounds like a ton of work that takes all day, you are correct.

This recipe calls for adding lemon extract to the cream cheese filling; I associate king cakes with a light cinnamon flavor, so I substituted cinnamon for the lemon. How much cinnamon? A few shakes. This was a cooking-by-taste experiment.

If I made it again, I would skip the cream cheese filling altogether and simply coat the dough with butter and cinnamon sugar before rolling it up. Simple is better when it comes to king cakes.

Like Southern Plate’s Christy Jordan, I couldn’t find purple sugar at the grocery store, so I ended up with hot pink. I’m pretty sure the cake glows in the dark; I really need to go downstairs and check before the cat freaks out.

The ring obviously did not maintain its shape during baking, but it didn’t totally stick together in the middle.

The husband’s verdict: It’s OK, but not as good as the make-king-cake-all-day version.

My verdict: It’s definitely got a shot without the cream cheese filling.

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