An Ode To The Peach
It’s September already here in Boulder County and soon enough the leaves will start to turn and that first October snow will be on us. Fortunately for us, the local Farmer’s Markets are still bustling and we can reap the benefits of summer for a little while longer. Nestled on the Front Range, we have access to a bounty of amazing food grown within a day’s drive. Access to the wildly varied seasonal produce and Boulder’s blooming food culture were what brought my wife and I here in the first place, among a thousand other reasons.
It wasn’t that hard to think of one of my favorite recipes to share, when asked to write a column for AboutBoulder. The best recipes are simple and highlight their components without undue extravagance, a pleasure to create and consume. Colorado peaches, in this humble writer’s opinion, are some of the finest in the country. Maybe it’s local pride, who knows?
The peach is such an amazing and versatile fruit, excellent straight off the tree, grilled, baked or poached. It can be sliced, tossed with some prosciutto and wild arugula and served as a delicious salad. Grilled and drizzled with honey, poached in some champagne, the options are endless.
My favorite though, over the crisps, tarts and pies of the world, would have to be peach cobbler. The only thing my dad could make that didn’t resemble shoe leather or come frozen and pre-packaged, it was a special treat to get it on camping trips and the occasional backyard bonfire. My dad made it with canned peaches and Bisquick, easier in the middle of the woods I suppose, but cobbler is best fresh and from scratch.
I want to share with you my recipe for peach cobbler, with Colorado peaches and locally produced agave nectar.
Colorado Peach Cobbler
2.5 lbs Colorado Peaches (6 – 7 medium size, peeled, cored, cut into 8 wedges each)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c light agave syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp corn starch
pinch of kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup AP flour
2 1/2 tbl sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
5 tbl cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4in cubes
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
To start with, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. You’ll need an 8in square glass baking dish, a couple mixing bowls, a spatula, a knife and a food processor.
Starting with fresh, firm peaches is key here. Just barely ripe is ideal, so that they won’t be too mushy after they’ve baked in their sumptious juices. Peel them, halve them and remove the pits along with the dark red flesh surrounding the pit to keep the bitterness down. Carefully, because peeled peaches are slippery, cut the halves into four wedges. Combine in a mixing bowl with the agave, cinnamon and vanilla and let it sit for 30 minutes.
When they’ve had a chance to sit in the syrup, add in your salt and corn starch and toss until coated evenly then put in the baking dish. Pop it in the oven for about ten minutes, until the juices bubble at the edge of the dish.
While the peaches start to cook, it’s time to make the topping. Lucious, airy biscuits to bake on top of the peaches and soak up those juices when you finally eat it. In your food processor, combine all dry ingredients with a few rapid pulses, then add in your cold cubes of butter and pulse until it resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a mixing bowl and fold in the yogurt until the dough holds its form.
Remove the peaches from the oven and place the dough on top, separated into six pieces about 1 inch apart. Return to the oven for about 15 minutes, until the topping is golden brown. Let it cool for about 20 minutes, before serving with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. And then eat it cold for breakfast the next morning, because you can.