Recipe road test: Ina Garten's Fresh Peach Cobbler

Seira Wilson on September 03, 2020

Recipe road test: Ina Garten's Fresh Peach Cobbler

Ina Garten fans, who among us has not been jealous of Jeffrey?  Over the years we've watched, salivating, as he tucks into delicious dishes prepared by a woman who clearly loves cooking, and in particular cooking for him. You often hear chefs say that food is a way of giving something of yourself to those you love, and that comes across loud and clear in all of Garten's cookbooks. 

Cooking for Jeffrey is her most personal cookbook yet and in it Garten recounts their early years as a married couple and Jeffrey's endless support of doing what makes her happy. The recipes have all been "Jeffrey-tested" and include many of his old and new favorites. Since we are in the peak of peach season I decided to try the Fresh Peach Cobbler recipe and it was so good I'm making another pan of it this weekend.

What I love about this recipe is that the peaches are cut into both large-dice and wedges, so the fruit really shines in every bite. Add in a bit of orange juice and zest and you have a filling that is incredibly fresh and bright. The cobbler topping is really easy to make with a few pulses of the food processor and forms a light, slightly crispy crust when baked.

Of course I followed Garten's recommendation and served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (though I may go rogue for the next batch and try a lavender ice cream I saw at the market). It's pretty much the perfect summer dessert.  Here's how mine looked before and after baking:


Below is the recipe for Fresh Peach Cobbler from Cooking for Jeffrey. Enjoy this one now when peaches are at their best, and let it to tide you over until Garten's next cookbook (can't wait!), Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, releasing on October 6th.


Fresh Peach Cobbler

Serves 6 to 8

I’ve always made fruit crisps but avoided cobblers because by the time I’ve prepped the fruit for the filling, the last thing I want to do is start making biscuits for the top. Recently, I came across a topping by Mark Bittman and my version of his drop biscuit topping was the perfect solution. Make this when local peaches are ripe and they’ll be easier to peel and so much more flavorful!

4 pounds ripe peaches (8 to 10 large peaches)
3/4  cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

for the topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, ½-inch-diced
2 extra-large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream, such as Haagen-Dazs, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. In batches, immerse the peaches for 30 seconds to 3 minutes, testing along the way, until the skins can be peeled off easily with a paring knife. Transfer the peaches to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and peel. Large-dice a quarter of the peaches, set aside, and cut the remaining peaches into wedges into a large bowl.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, orange zest, orange juice, and butter and bring to a boil. Add only the diced peaches (not the wedges), bring back to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is thickened and translucent. Mix the cooked peaches with the peach wedges and pour into an 8½ × 11½ × 2-inch oval baking dish and set aside.

For the topping, put the flour, ¾ cup sugar, the baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse 15 to 20 times, until it is the size of peas. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla, and add to the food processor. Pulse just until the mixture is evenly moistened. Spoon dollops of the dough (I use a 1¾-inch ice cream scoop) onto the peaches (it won’t cover them all). Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle on top.

Put the dish on the prepared sheet pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, covering loosely with a large sheet of aluminum foil halfway through if the topping is getting too browned. Bake until the topping springs back in the middle when lightly touched. (Both the edge of the crust and the middle should spring back the same way.) Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes and serve warm with the ice cream.

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