A Southern Peach Cobbler Recipe with a Lavender and Vanilla Twist

Peach cobbler in a cast iron skilletCobbler and the South are like bread and butter, peas and carrots, hook ‘em and horns, and other natural combination. This is not to say that they don’t have cobbler in the North, but when I think of the many ubiquitous foods in my Southern heritage, cobbler is a stand out. When I was growing up our family would visit Tennessee and South Carolina with stops along the way in Georgia to acquire bushels (or maybe pecks) of peaches that we’d take home to El Paso to peel and freeze. And while those carefully stored peaches would find their way into other dishes, their main reason for finding their way half way across the country was as filling for cobbler. There’s just nothing quite like a peach cobbler overflowing with juicy, ripe peaches, particularly when the preaches are so sweet they don’t even need more than a pinch of sugar. Of course Texas isn’t too shabby in the peach department either, which makes me very happy because I can buy local peaches from just down the road in Fredericksburg and re-create the cobbler of my childhood.

With peach season in full swing, I spent some time experimenting with subtle variations on my family’s favorite cobbler recipe. My goal was to create a slightly sophisticated cobbler that still stayed true to its roots. I wanted intriguing without being foofy. The end result was a traditional cobbler scented lightly with lavender, honey, and vanilla, but cooked in a cast iron skillet to remind everyone that it was indeed a cobbler. I served it with good ol’ vanilla ice cream because that’s just what we do in my family, but of course if you’d like you could serve it with freshly whipped cream or even a cream anglaise sauce.

Recipe: Lavender Vanilla Southern Peach Cobbler

Details

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes (because it takes a while to peel this many peaches)
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Optional Special Equipment: 9 inch cast iron skillet

Ingredients

  • 4-5 lb. peaches (about 16-18 medium peaches), peeled and cut into ¼ – ½ inch slices
  • 2 Tbsp. good quality honey
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 ¼ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 ½ tsp. dried lavender
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick + 1 Tbsp. butter softened, divided
  • 1 egg white mixed with 1 Tbsp. water
  • 2 Tbsp. raw sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine the sliced peaches, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and lavender in a large mixing bowl. Taste for sweetness and add more honey to sweeten to taste (see Recipe for Success).
  3. In a food processor combine the sugar, flour, baking powder, and kosher salt. Pulse 3-4 times to mix. Add the egg and the stick of butter to the dry ingredients. Process on low speed for about 30 seconds to a minute until the dough comes together in a sticky ball.
  4. Place the remaining Tbsp. butter in the bottom of the cast iron skillet or baking dish and place in the hot oven for 5 minutes or until melted. Carefully remove the hot dish from the oven and swirl the butter around until it coats the bottom of the dish.
  5. Spread the peaches evenly in the baking dish.
  6. Drop tablespoons of the dough all over the top of the peaches and press them down with your fingertips to form a mostly uniform crust. Don’t worry if it’s not completely even or covered. The crust will spread a bit during baking and the slightly uneven look is very rustic.
  7. Brush the top of the cobbler with the egg wash and sprinkle with the sugar.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the peach juices are bubbling up on the sides.

Recipe for Success

  • The amount of honey you use has everything to do with how sweet and ripe the peaches are. Early season or under-ripe peaches may need a little more help in the sweet department. Late season and juicy overly-ripe peaches may do just fine on their own. Start with just a couple of tablespoons of honey, taste the mixture, and add more until the mixture is just about (but not quite) as sweet as you’d like it to be. The peaches will give off some of their natural sugar and sweeten while they cook to round out the final flavor.
  • You can use regular sugar instead of honey if you’d like. I think the honey lends a complexity to the peaches that you don’t get with sugar, but that’s a personal preference.
  • I made this is a cast iron skillet because it makes it feel more traditional. You can use a deep dish oven baker or even a glass pyrex dish just as easily.
  • Instead of greasing the bottom of the baking dish with melted butter you can use baking spray. The butter tastes better though and what’s one more tablespoon among friends?
  • I use a tablespoon scoop or mellon-baller to drop the dough in even rows over the peaches. After that it’s easy to press into an even crust.
  • You could make this cobbler with frozen peaches if you had to. I’d reduce the amount of peaches to about 3.5 lbs (a couple of good size bags) and I’d thaw and drain them first to prevent the cobbler from being too watery.

2 Comments

  1. Yeah, it’s good, very useful, thanks :)

  2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE peach cobbler. It’s like one of my most favorite desserts ever! This sounds delightful.

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