When I moved up north, I was so confused by cobbler. Every time I ordered it, I’d get this thing with drops of biscuit dough or some sort of cakey batter baked on top of fruit. That’s certainly not the cobbler I knew in Granny’s kitchen. Granny, and many Southern home cooks like her, did peach cobbler with a pie crust on top and bottom. It’s not the same as a double crust pie because the sides are open to let the juices run all over. I’ve keep the spirit of Granny’s with a buttery crust, but now I bake the bottom crust before adding the filling to keep it crisp. And instead of stovetop simmering the fruit to a jammy state, I roast them to intensify their sweetness while keeping the shapes of the slices. Aside from those little touches, this is a taste of a true Southern cobbler.
All-purpose flour, for rolling
Carla’s Crust (see below)
8 ripe but firm yellow peaches, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons amaretto
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Pinch table salt
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon coarse sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Lightly dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour. Swirl one dough rectangle in the flour to lightly coat the bottom. You want to make sure your dough can move. Roll the rectangle from the center out, then rotate the disk a quarter turn and roll again. Keep rolling and turning to form a 13- by 9-inch rectangle, lightly, lightly flouring the surface and top of dough. You want just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking; don’t overflour! Transfer to a parchment paper-lined half sheet pan. Repeat with the other dough. Pop one dough rectangle into the fridge. Put the other one into the oven and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Turn the oven down to 375°F.
3. While that dough bakes, make the filling: On a half sheet pan, combine the peaches, sugars, spices, lemon juice, amaretto, cornstarch, and salt, tossing until well mixed. Roast until the fruit releases their juices, about 20 minutes.
4. Beat the egg with the water. Transfer the cooled, baked crust to a 13- by 9-inch shallow baking pan or dish and spread the hot peach filling evenly over the crust. Top with the chilled unbaked dough, brush with the egg wash, and sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
5. Bake until the crust is golden and the fruit bubbling, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm.
Sweet Tooth: Serve with ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.
Swap Out: If you don’t have coarse sugar, sprinkle granulated on top.
Makes 2 (9- by 13-inch) cobber crusts or 2 (9-inch round) pie crusts
For more years than I can count, I’ve been making this flaky, tender all-butter crust. It’s my go-to and the technique below has been perfected from years of mixing and rolling.
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1/3 cup cold water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1. Chill the bowl and paddle attachment of a standing electric mixer until cold. Dissolve the sugar and salt in the water and chill until cold. In the chilled bowl, combine the flour and butter and toss until well coated. Mix on low speed until the butter forms pea-sized pieces. Add the water all at once, increase the speed to medium, and beat just until the dough comes together.
2. Flatten the dough into two 1-inch-thick rectangles for cobbler crust or two 1-inch-thick round disks for pies. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day. You can also freeze the dough for up to 3 months.