Ginger-Peach Melba Cobbler

Colorado peaches are coming on, but there aren’t too many this year due to an early freeze. Keep a close eye out!

Typically “peaches” and “melba” and “ginger” don’t belong together in one recipe title because melba indicates peaches with raspberry sauce and vanilla cream of some sort (in other words: no ginger anywhere there) — said dessert named for the famous late 19th-early 20th century opera singer, Australian Dame Nellie Melba. Perhaps you don’t care one way or another. Or, on the other hand, you might remember her from DOWNTON ABBEY days if you were both a Downton and an opera fan:

On Sunday, U.S. Downton Abbey fans were served a double dose of divas — one from the present and one from the distant past. Viewers may have recognized Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, the creamy-voiced soprano whose radiant beauty graced the world’s top opera houses from the 1970s through ’90s. But far fewer probably know about Dame Nellie Melba, the Australian-born superstar Te Kanawa portrayed in the episode. Even some opera buffs may have forgotten Melba. But in her day she was colossal, an artist who dominated European and American music for a period, one so adored that Melba toast and Peach Melba were created in her name by famed chef Auguste Escoffier.

NPR, Jan. 17, 2014
I’m fond of Pyrex baking dishes so I can see what’s going on. Place on very dry pot holders or towels on the counter when you remove them from the oven–not on a burner as they may break. See “More Info Than You Wanted” below.

Now that that’s all straight, I’ll tell you I’m stretching my cobbler recipe here for two very good reasons: 1. I love peach and ginger together and 2. my raspberries were about to melt into mold–as raspberries, which God made to be eaten warm and rosy right off the bush — are prone to do. It was either slam a few peaches and a half-pint of raspberries down our throats in one afternoon or make a dessert I could store in the fridge a few days. But while we’re talking names and titles and whatnot, let’s talk about exactly what a cobbler is: click on link or take my word for it being a somewhat syrupy fruit dessert topped with sweet biscuit dough, unlike a crisp, which is a somewhat syrupy fruit dessert topped with a crunchy, crumbly, sweet topping–such as oats or even corn flakes, butter, flour, and brown sugar. While I’m drumming about for definitions (I’m a woman of words, after all), I also can’t help but wonder how a cobbler came to be named a cobbler. Must’ve come from the word, “cobble,” as in cobblestone streets, as in cobble together a network of supporters, as in the person who fixes shoes? Getting nearer to the bottom of this:

Definition of cobble

transitive verb 1: chiefly British to mend or patch coarsely 2: REPAIRMAKE cobble shoes 3: to make or put together roughly or hastily  — often used with together or upcobble together an agreement cobble up a temporary solution

Merriam-Webster

Obviously, today’s dessert (and, ok, we’re nearly done with the wordsmithing) — which lets you out of mixing and rolling pie dough — comes from the “to make or put together roughly or hastily” part of the definition. Anyone who’s ever made a cobbler will tell you it’s a fairly simple weeknight dessert (or weekday breakfast-think vanilla yogurt) that doesn’t rely on perfect composition or beauty to win its prize. In fact, a cobbler should be homey-looking, even somewhat lumpy-bumpy, and definitely shouldn’t make you worry about how you’re going to cut, serve, or eat it–as a fancy cake or pie might.

Ripe peaches will peel easier than unripe. Add less ripe fruit to a pot of boiling water for 30-60 seconds, remove, and peel.

DO YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW MY COBBLER RECIPE EXACTLY? NO. There’s a little room to wiggle here.

  • How many peaches do you really need? Some peach cobbler recipes will call for 7 cups — about 8 large sliced peaches for an 8 or 9-inch square pan. The one I made last summer and blogged right here used 6 big peaches in a 9-inch square baking pan. Today’s beauty had 4 large peaches plus a 1/2 pint (1 cup) of raspberries. Because that’s what I had. If you use the larger amounts of fruit, your dessert will be fruitier; if you use a smaller amount, it will be a tad more biscuit-y, but it will bake and it will eat.
  • So, what I’m saying is–if you’ve got less or more or different fruit, go ahead and bake. If you have no raspberries, but have blueberries, light the oven. See below. A cup of frozen pitted cherries you can quickly thaw? Same drill.
  • Have no berries?? Add another peach. Short of peaches, flush with nectarines or plums? You got it; use some other stone fruit. And, apples often fill in anywhere–really.
  • Tons of peaches and raspberries? Double the recipe and use a 3 or 4-quart Pyrex dish or a 9×13 baking pan.
  • How much sugar/lemon juice do you really need? If the fruit is full ripe and sweet, go with my 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice. If the fruit is even riper and sweeter, add another tablespoon lemon juice. Fruit a little hard and less sweet? Add another 2-3 tablespoons sugar, but keep the 2 tablespoons lemon juice to maintain the color of the fruit. No matter what, you have to have some sugar to make the syrup, so don’t skip it totally. Remember that there are two more tablespoons sugar in the dough and in the glaze, which is actually optional. Some people brush a cobbler with melted butter or just bake it au naturel. (Adding ice cream? That’s additional sweetening, too. You could use unsweetened whipped or heavy cream, too.)

BISQUICK?? Yes, of course you can use Bisquick to make the biscuit topping, but it’s so easy to make your own; I hope you’ll try. A food processor or a pastry cutter makes it easy. You can even use two small sharp knives or your fingers to cut (or rub if you’re using fingers) the butter into the flour mixture. If using fingers, do it quickly as the heat of your hands will melt the butter and you want the butter to be in tiny pieces, not melted, when the cobbler’s baked.

Bisquick Topped Blueberry Cobbler Recipe from MyRecipes

Freezing peaches? Don’t forget to add lemon juice before freezing. Directions here.

Tired of reading and more interested in baking? I’ll move on. Get your ingredients together, preheat your oven, and try this:

Ginger-Peach Melba Cobbler

I’ve been making cobblers from THE FANNY FARMER BAKING BOOK for 35 years. The late Marion Cunningham remains a wonderful baking teacher and cookbook author all these years later. This recipe, therefore, is part Marion and part Alyce. No fresh ginger in the house? Add a ¼ teaspoon each of cinnamon and/or powdered ginger to the ¼ cup of sugar in the filling. Makes one 9-inch square cobbler.

Ingredients

FILLING:

  • 4 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced thickly (about into 6ths)*
  • 1 cup (1/2 pint) ripe raspberries
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger

BISCUIT TOPPING:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter-cut into small pieces
  • 6 tablespoons milk

GLAZE:

  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Instructions

  • PREHEAT OVEN to 425 degrees F. Place rack at center. Grease 9-inch baking pan or casserole dish.
  • FILLING: Add all of the fruit to the greased 9-inch baking pan or casserole dish. Sprinkle with sugar. In a small cup, stir together the lemon juice and ginger; pour over the peaches and raspberries evenly. Stir gently. Set aside.
  • BISCUIT TOPPING: In a food processor fitted with a steel blade or in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pulsing, or using a pastry blender in the bowl, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Slowly add milk, pulsing, or stirring, until just combined. Turn out onto a floured counter or board and knead several times until the dough is holding together and pretty smooth. Pat out or roll into a square to fit the baking pan or dish. Place the dough on top of the fruit in the pan, pressing down at edges a bit.
  • GLAZE: Brush dough with milk and sprinkle evenly with sugar.
  • BAKE/SERVE: Bake 30-35 minutes OR until biscuit topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbly. Remove and place pan or dish on a rack to cool briefly. Serve warm with soft vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Notes

*If your peaches are quite ripe, you may be able to peel them using a sharp paring knife. Otherwise, bring 2-3 quarts of water to boil and dip each peach into the boiling water for at least 30 seconds. Remove and peel when you can handle the hot fruit. Another idea: some people just leave the peel on, as I do with apples. Your choice!
Copyright Alyce Morgan, 2020. All rights reserved.

STORAGE: While this dessert should keep well for a day or two wrapped at room temperature, I’d refrigerate it if you’re having really warm weather. It will keep 4 or 5 days in the fridge. It is freezable for 6-8 months, but it’s so easy and fast to make that I wouldn’t bother. Freezing peaches would be a better option. Scroll up for information.

IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU MIGHT LIKE MY…

MORE INFO THAN YOU WANTED

Definition: “Melba”/YOURDICTIONARY.COM

Listen to Dame Nellie Melba sing “Piangea cantando” in 1926 at age 65

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa on her Downton Abbey character Dame Nellie Melba

Peach Cobbler: What’s in a Name?/EPICURIOUS by David Klopfenstein, 2010

Use Pillsbury “Grands” Biscuits for Cobbler

Bisquick Peach Cobbler (This recipe uses canned peaches. You can use my ideas for fresh fruit above and add the Bisquick topping.)

How to Make Sure Your Pyrex Doesn’t Shatter/Epicurious

LIFE GOES ON

In today’s world, the dogs make almost anything better! Here are our “babies” (below) in the morning after their breakfast, walk, and treats:

Tucker–Male Golden–age 10. Rosie (aka “BoBo”) — Female Flat coated F1B Labradoodle (3/4 poodle, 1/4 lab) — age 6) And yes, Rosie will throw the ball herself and go fetch it!!

Click “X” in the bottom right corner of the video for a full-screen view and turn up your volume. Road noise is I-25. Press ESC at top left corner of your keyboard to bring you back to the blog.

New accessory arrived in the mail from dear friend Lani Jordan
A double rainbow a day keeps the doctor away.

Good reading here: 5-Minute Coronavirus Stress Resets (NYT), though I also recommend a nice dinner and a bottle of wine on Friday nights. Don’t forget the candles and the music. (Pandora has lots from which to choose or play this jazz piano set from youtube.) Skip and ignore the ads 😉

Thanks for reading. Hope you and all you love are just peachy,

Alyce

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