Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Peach and Blackberry Cobbler

Do you ever get the feeling that life is moving too quickly? Do you wonder: did I really get enough sun-soaked outdoor time or smokey, campfire-roasted marshmallows this summer? Did I swim enough? Did I take full advantage of those golden afternoons on my balcony, when a cold beer and a cool breeze can feel just shy of heaven? Did I savor the overwhelming freshness and clarity that is so essential in summer foods? Call me a pessimist, but as the summer draws to a close, I can't help but wonder if I lived it to the fullest, catching every last morsel of that special joy that only summer can provide. At those times, I think back to all the things that define the season for me, like peaches.

Mom loves peaches. I have vivid memories of vacationing down the Cape, sitting around whatever cottage the family had rented, playing gin and watching Mom eat peaches. It is always amazing to me, the kind of subtle, non-traditions that seem to seep into my memory such as Mom's love of peaches. For me, peaches mean comfort and an easy relaxation that can only come with time spent at the beach, with no cell phones, blackberries or laptops. Just good food and good company. Away from the things of man, my love. Away from the things of man. 

Peach and Blackberry Cobbler
(Adapted from Ruth Reichl's blog)

4 large peaches, peeled
8 or 9 oz. blackberries
1/2 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/2 stick of cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice peaches over a glass pie plate, making sure to capture any juices from the fruit. Add blackberries. Squeeze half a lemon over fruit and toss with sugar and cornstarch.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Using your hands, work in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Slowly mix in the buttermilk, making sure the dough is not too moist. Plop spoonfuls of dough on to the fruit. Sprinkle dough with sugar and bake for 30 minutes. Serve immediately, preferably with vanilla ice cream.

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