Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This Peach Cobbler Not the Work of a Shoemaker

I’m afraid the expression is quickly dying out, but there was a time when being called a “shoemaker” was the ultimate kitchen insult. It meant that your cooking skills were so weak, the cobbler down the street could have taken a break from resoling wingtips, come into the kitchen, and done just as well.

That little culinary history lesson has absolutely nothing to do with this beautiful peach cobbler, but I’ve been trying to keep the saying alive, and it gave me an excuse to share. Ironically, this recipe is so easy any shoemaker could master it.

I have to thank everyone who chimed in last week when I asked for cobbler recipes and inspiration. I received so many great variations and techniques, and while I didn’t use any one single recipe, I definitely used parts of several.

I hope you don’t have much trouble finding fresh ripe peaches this time of year, but if you can’t, this will still be very nice using canned. Speaking of finding ingredients, one thing I learned from my research was that for whatever reason, self-rising flour was the way to go.

No one could quite explain it, but cook after southern cook report that the self-rising flour performs much better than plain with salt and baking powder added in (see ingr. below). Do you have a theory? Maybe most people’s baking powder is so old it’s not as strong as the leavening in a freshly purchased bag of SR flour? What I do know is how nicely this turned out.

Anyway, I’m going to kick off my shoes, put up my feet, and savor the last of this delicious cobbler. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Reports from people trying this are that the ones made with self-rising flour came out awesome, and the ones using regular flour didn't work well at all. Fair warning! Get some self-rising flour!


Ingredients:
For the peaches:
5-6 cups sliced peaches (if you use canned peaches, do not make the syrup)
1/8 tsp Chinese 5-spice
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 cup water
1 cups sugar
For the batter:
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (real butter! Do NOT use margarine!)
1 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (or 1 1/2 cup AP flour, plus 2 1/2 tsp baking powder and 3/4 tsp salt - NOTE: this does not work as well...get some self-rising flour!)
1 1/2 cups milk

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can i make my own self raising flour? If i can, how many tsp/tbsp of baking powder/soda should i add?

Ariana said...

I cannot wait to give this a try! my peach cobbler recipe is woefully out of date, it uses Bisquick (scandalous!)

I am wondering, have you ever considered listing your recipes in alphabetical orcer, just as a list or linklist somewhere? (if you have done this I just havent found it, apologies) That way one would not have to scroll through the entire posts in each category when looking for something

Matthew said...

Since it is my birthday coming up in the next few days, I am very tempted to try this.

Though, just one question, I wasn't sure about with the video, when you melted the butter and then added the milk/flour mix to it, did you stir that together? For some reason it still looked rather separate.

Please keep up the good work.

TIlen said...

Our store probably doesn't have self-rising flour. Can you recommend a substitute and what quantity to use for this recipe.

Tnx from Slovenia:D

dkliman said...

hi chef John... can you help me devise a version of this that's diabetic friendly, with things like agave or pomegranate molasses and/or honey or grape juice instead of the sugars, and maybe some kind of smelt or other whole flour instead of the white refined flour? or is there a way to just take advantage of the natural sweetness in the peaches? I don't want to use artificial sweeteners, and i guess a little brown sugar is okay (like maybe a table spoon or two) but not cups of it.

Anonymous said...

Looks delicious. It will be great with vanilla ice-cream on the side.

Pyrofish said...

Hey... I'm a Choux maker! At least since your Gougere recipe...

Anonymous said...

Hey big guy...do you have a link for the manufacturer of the cast aluminum dutch oven?

going to try the peach cobbler today!

Magritka said...

Chef John!!!
It looks amazing!
I really want to try that out, but can I simply use baking powder? for me here in germany self-rising flour is something hard to get in the moment.

Just a Generous Thief said...

I can't wait to try this! But what do I need to do if I only have regular flour? x

Livia said...

OMG! I must have some! ...I guess that means I must make some :-)

Chef John said...

If you don't have SR flour, I added the AP flour ingredients to the recipe.

Chef John said...

For those of you asking which pot I used, here you go... http://www.amazon.com/IMUSA-Evolution-6-9-qt-Nonstick-Aluminum/dp/B004S2JR9Q/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1312991056&sr=8-11

Chef John said...

lol @ "I'm a Choux maker"

Eric said...

I too would like an alphabetical list of your recipes! Cant be too hard now can it?
Congrats on the deal with All Recipes by the way! You deserve it for all the help you've given to the thousands and thousands of kitchen noobs :)

Anonymous said...

If i want to make my own chinese 5-spice what kind of spices should i use?

Asian Malaysian said...

Rhulman has a nice blog post on the term shoemaker that you might enjoy:

http://ruhlman.com/2008/05/elements-of-coo/

Chef John said...

Chinese 5-spice: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five-spice_powder

Chef John said...

Yes, I commented on that post!

Matthew said...

Hi Chef John nice to see you with some traditional recipes again <3 (not a big fan of fusion cuisines sorry!).

Kind of a stupid question: Is it better to use whole milk for desserts or the low fat milk (that I always drink and eat cereals with) does just fine? Does the fat content of the milk make an impact on the peach cobbler's taste at all?

Thanks in advance!

PS: I'm Chinese and I can't believe 5 spiced powder is used on such a Southern dessert lol. When I was in Hong Kong my mother used to marinate chicken wings with it before frying :D

Chef John said...

low fat milk is fine for desserts, that's what i use. :-)

Matthew said...

One more question...since I don't want to waste fresh peaches on my first attempt...

For ommiting the made from scratch syrup does that mean we include the syrup from the can? Or we just use the canned peaches without the syrup since the peaches are already sweetened

Thanks~

Chef John said...

Yes, use all the syrup!

Food Junkie said...

Looks yummy Chef. I would debate your selection of free stone peaches a little. I know varieties have changed but when I was younger the free stone peaches were a convenience for the canneries. The REALLY good eating peaches were the cling stone varieties. But as I said that may have changed with newer varieties.

Chef John said...

That may have been true, but these freestone were amazing! :-)

Anonymous said...

I asked the kid at the market if the peaches were free stone or cling, I got a look that said it all... stoned...

Healthy and Homemade said...

Yeah, drool. Need this in my belly ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Try using buttermilk instead of milk for the peach cobbler recipe. It's delicious.

Gene said...

Realize this peach cobbler territory but I had a quick question about one of your old recipes back in 2007 and was not sure where to go to ask you about Uncles Bills chicken. The ingredients looked so so great I know you said this was dark meat territory but is there some reason why I could not use boneless chicken breasts.

Chef John said...

Any chicken works for that recipe! Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

It turns out that even this shoemaker can't do it.

I failed this recipe. The dough didn't rise to the top. Only some around the edges. And the dough that stayed in the middle was all mushy. Maybe it was that I didn't use self rising flour. or that my pan/pot was too full. I have no Idea. but it was disappointing. :( I was looking forward to some delicious cobbler. I won't give up though I can always try again.

Chef John said...

Yes, it's the flour. That what I heard during my research as I said in the post. there is just something about the SR flour that works so much better.

Kurt said...

I made the cobbler tonight...............got rave reviews, people were drooling when it came out of the oven. I liked how the crust carmelized on the bottom so nicely.Everyone wanted some of that! I made homemade vanilla ice cream and served that on top. This is a keeper, and will try it with other fruit.

Fatcat said...

CJ: Thought I would surprise the wife on Sunday morning and cobbler came out great just like the picture, but:

wife: the house smells great.
me: yes dear.
wife: that looks wonderful.
me: yes dear.
wife: boy this is sweet.
me: yes dear.
CJ:How would you un-sweet the recipe a little?

Chef John said...

use less sugar in the peaches ;-)

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mau Mau, looks like I'm ditching your Peach Cobbler recipe. :)

Also, the "something" about the self rising flour is the baking powder! It's supposed to rise, if it doesn't get air, it's no good!


Also #2, my food wish: How about something with blueberries? I have a few pounds that I've picked over the last few weeks, and I'm itching to make something with them. I've already made a buckle, but I think I need something with that chef John touch. :P

Chef John said...

First of all, we know about the baking powder (see post and ingr.)

Secondly, we did a blueberry recipe last week.

Come on! Try and pay closer attention! ;)

Anonymous said...

I am definately going to try this. Looks great.

What do you think about using unsalted butter? I have it on hand and use Smart Balance for everything else.
~Kena

Chef John said...

I only use unsalted butter.

Anonymous said...

Chef, what is the consistency of the batter supposed to look like after baking? I baked mine with SR flour and canned peaches in a cast iron skillet for 1 hour and it still looked gummy under the crust. Should I increase temp? Decrease liquids? Bake on lower rack? Thanks for your help.

Dvilrcc said...

chef. i do not have this type of dish and my friend is coming tomorrow, do u think i could use a square tin? i have a pan shaped in this way though with a metal handle, do u think it could do the trick?

Chef John said...

Should work!

Rike said...

Tried this out first with normal flour and baking powder and it didn't turn out very well. Yes, you said it wouldn't but self-rising flour is hard to find in Germany and this recipe sounded to delicous not to try.

Today I found self-rising flour at an asian grocery of all places and tried again. Worked perfectly and the result turned out oh so delicous. I just ended up with a lot of syrup at the bottom of the baking dish. I think next time I'll try halving the amount of syrup. And maybe a little less sugar, too. It is very sweet.

Rainabsorber said...

Just to let all you people who are wondering, self rising flour(if your store doesn`t have any) is the following:

1 Cup Flour
1 1/2 tsp or Baking Powder
1 tsp salt

obviously double or whatnot as needed for the recipe

Frederik S. said...

Ok, so I tried this today using the regular flour. Besides the baking powder I added 1 tsp of baking soda and it turned out re-e-e-e-ly good :)

Anonymous said...

Hi CJ,
Does it matter what type of dish I use? Will any oven safe dish do, like glass casserole dish or a cake tin?
Thanks!

Chef John said...

anything that's deep and wide enough will work!

Lisa said...

I just made this. It is Delish!! THANKS Chef John!

Anonymous said...

Can frozen peaches be used for this recipe? If so, do I thaw them first or just bake it longer?

Chef John said...

Yes, thaw first. Enjoy!

Poirot said...

Just found this recipe and made it with some whole peaches I had frozen a couple of months ago -- they were really soft and a little mushy, so I was concerned, but it was pretty good.
Also, I think I need to use a wider pan ... couldn't really tell how wide Chef's pan was, but my cake was a little too thick.
Thanks

MC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MC said...

Can you sub apples for Peaches with the same ratios / bake time?

Mixk said...

I used this recipe and substituted the peaches with apples. I used all purpose flour with baking soda and it worked beautifully! If I do say so myself. But I will try self rising flour some day. Thank you for the recipe, Chef John.

Ric said...

I keep a bag of self-rising flour on hand for two reasons only: Navajo frybread and peach cobbler. DEFINITELY go self-rising for the cobbler. So easy, so good!

Melissa said...

Thoughts on the flour science: 1) Maybe the AP flour needs to be well sifted and mixed with the baking powder before the liquid is added. Otherwise, the baking powder will start to react when it hits the liquid and the batter won't be ready to catch the bubbles. 2) If the wet batter sits too long or is mixed too much, the bubbles will escape before baking. (so it's not the gluten we are trying to avoid) 3) Another factor that might affect rising is the type of rising chemicals. Maybe the SR uses double acting baking powder (releases bubbles when mixed with water, then releases more when heated) and people using AP may have single or double acting powder.

Not trying to be a know-it-all :) I just don't have SR and I'm trying to figure out what to do. All in all, I think maybe a little extra baking soda or baking powder might help with the rising.

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! Made the peach cobbler today for Sunday Dinner dessert. All I can say is wow. I love crust over. I did a couple things different (I think I am a good cook...lol). I didn't use the Chinese spice; I used cinnamon and nutmeg. I used can peaches in heavy syrup; I boiled them with a half cup of sugar with the cinnamon and nutmeg in the boil. I used a stick of butter sofftened in the batter and melted one-fourth of a stick in the baking pan. I preheated the oven on 375 degrees and cooked for 55 minutes. I can say again and again delicious. Great base recipe.

Vané said...

I can not wait to try this. I researched for a long while. Even though I am from the south, homemade peach cobbler was not a staple for me. I like that you use chinese 5 spice, as we bought some a while ago and can't find any uses for it. Can't wait!!!

Vané said...

I added a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg and had to add my own baking powder because the commissary doesn't carry self-rising flour and it came out great. I did have to sift the flour and baking powder and I cooked it for 45 mins in the middle of the oven then 10 at the top of the oven to get the crust a little more golden. mmm mmm mmmmm. thanks for the recipe!!

Anonymous said...

I tried the recipe today. I didn't have self-rising flour, the mix of AP flour, baking powder worked just fine. It came out amazing!!! Thanks chef John! Do you think this would work with a different fruit?

Chef John said...

Yes! almost any berry or stone fruit

Kai said...

I've been wanting to make this for the longest time and since I got a hold of some beautiful fresh peaches, I made it! I ran out of self-rising flour so I decided to use the mix of AP flour and baking powder and it came out wonderful~ Thanks Chef John!

Anonymous said...

Chef! Do you know where I can find chinese five spices in stores? Albertons,stater brothers, etc?

Chef John said...

I've never been in a large grocery store that didn't carry it in the spice sect.

Anonymous said...

Does it matter if we use a dutch oven or not

1Bigg_ER said...

I could write a poem about this cobbler.
And yes a dutch oven works just fine, depending on the size though. I use my bare 10 inch lodge deep cast iron skillet.
I'm tempted to try it with buttermilk.
Do you use all the syrup, after boiling, or is it to taste?

Chef John said...

I believe I used all the syrup. Thanks!

gottalovethatanime5 said...

:O its like in 'Holes' the movie how they found out peaches was the remedy that made the shoes smell good! This must be connected!

gottalovethatanime5 said...

Why can't you use margarine?

Trevor Toth said...

Hi there Chef John,

Can i use frozen peaches in this recipe?

Thank you so much for your time..
Sara :-)

Chef John said...

Yes!

♥ Ummu ♥ said...

Hai Chef John, thank you for sharing this. I halved the sugar because 2 cups of sugar for this is too much for me. My friends and I have never taste peach cobbler before, but surprisingly we love it. :)

-a Malaysian-

Krithika Rajendran said...

I have never bought a butter stick, can you tell me where I can get it and which brand to is the best? I live in California. I went on to google it but have only got like cocoa butter and butter flavored stick. Please help, I really want to try this recipe. love it!

Chef John said...

It's just butter! A "stick" is what the four wrapped pieces in the pound of butter are called. Just buy a pound of unsalted butter.

KR said...

I live in Denver, a mile high! Has anyone tried this recipe at high altitude? Does that impact the use of self rising flour - do you make any changes to adjust?

j said...

I used self-rising flour but the middle of the cobbler was still covered in syrup and some of the peaches stayed at the top and did not sink. What did I do wrong? (Btw, I used canned peaches)

j said...

I used the self-rising flour but the middle of my cobbler was not fully covered with crust. The edges had crust though. Some of the syrup and peaches laid on top and never settled to the bottom. What did I do wrong? (Btw I used canned peaches)

Chef John said...

Nothing, that's normal.