I have a knack for making simple tasks complicated and impractical. When it occurs to me to bring in breakfast for the office, my mind immediately leaps to waiting in line at The Doughnut Vault , before I remember the many pastry shops that deliver. And don’t ask my mom about last year’s Thanksgiving turkey- the one I volunteered her to drive an hour to pick up, the turkey so large she had to secure it to her front seat with a seat belt. More recently, I offered to make dessert for a housewarming dinner at my friend’s new condo, so of course I broke out the cast iron skillet, in spite of the logistical difficulties of transporting it on two train rides.
The turkey was worth the trip; the doughnuts, TBD, because the only valid reason to stand in line for 2 hours is the pit lottery at a Springsteen show. And while next time I will serve it at home, straight out of the oven, this cobbler is definitely worth the effort of making. Inspired by Melissa Clark’s recipe for nectarine cobbler-cake in The New York Times, I love this dessert as a vehicle for those last two or three peaches left from a farmer’s market binge. The edges turn delightfully crisp and the brown butter keeps it un-boring, but the peaches remain front and center- as it should be in August.
A tip on peeling peaches: if yours are less ripe, a vegetable peeler will get the job done. To quickly peel ripe peaches, cut a shallow X in the bottom of each peach and plunge them into boiling water for 30 seconds. When they are cool enough to handle, the skins will slip off easily in one piece.
Skillet Peach Cobbler
Adapted from A Good Appetite
3 cups fresh peaches, peeled, in 1/2-inch slices
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the fruit slices, 1/4 cup sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a simmer, and remove from the heat.
In a cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Watch closely, stirring occasionally. The butter is done when it has a nutty smell and brown flecks. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour the buttermilk into the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Pour the batter on top of the brown butter, taking care not to mix it in with the butter. Spoon the peach slices and juice on top of the batter without stirring. Sprinkle with the almonds and nutmeg. Bake until the edges are very brown and a cake tester comes out clean, approximately 50 minutes. Serve warm, with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.