Saturday, August 14, 2004

Get Off My Ass Peach Cobbler

It's so hot and sticky, and I feel thick and lazy. I just finished wiping down the cabinets and mopping the kitchen floor, and I don't want to talk to anyone, even hear the bare ass rantings from the television. I'm sorry I haven't been adding too much commentary lately to these recipes. If I had more time I'd probably do more research on the history of the foods, but then again I'm no MFK Fisher. I will say that last week I purchased my very first food processor. I cannot tell you how incredibly delighted I am. There was a time when I did enjoy the methodical rhythym of chopping and slicing. However, working daily on a keyboard (even an ergonomic one) has rendered my hands and wrists reluctant to particpate in this once calming activity. I have to admit that the older I get, the less tolerant I am of spending far too much time an energy on things when I can cut down what's expended by paying a few more dollars on cool gadgets. After all, I'm not some 19th century woman who had her entire day and possibly an Irish servant to get all of her household tasks done. No offense to the Irish.

This cobbler is fairly easy to make as most cobblers should be. Using the food process or to mix the crust was more successful than I would have thought. Though this is just plain old cobbler crust. I wouldn't use this for an actual pie which deserves a flakier and lighter textured crust. The candied ginger adds a nice little spicy accent.

Gang of Peach Cobbler
filling
16 firm ripe peaches blanched (see instructions below)
3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/4 c candied ginger (not crystalized ginger)
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. cornstarch
1 stick of butter melted

Crust
3 c. flour
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. shortening
1 tsp. salt
1 egg beaten
1 tbsp. vinegar

Preparing the crust
Cut the shortening and butter into the flour and salt until you have a good meal. Combine the vinegar with the beaten egg yolk. Sprinkle and combine evenly with shortening and flour meal. While stirring add a few tablespoons of ice cold water. Enough to hold the dough together in a ball. Cut in half and cover each portion with saran wrap. Chill in the refirgerator for at least an hour.

How to blanche peaches
Many people today have no idea how to prepare peaches for canning. Who actually cans foods these days? As a young child I remember seeing parafin and mason jars readily available in super market aisles along with other canning suppies. Now WinCo is one of the few places I've seen them. This method of blanching works best if you have someone else on hand to immediately peel the peaches after they've been dipped in the cold water. Clean and fill your sink with ice water. In an extremely large pot boil enough water to cover all of your peaches. Carefully drop all of the peaches in the water and allow to boil for 2-3 minutes or until the skins appear to rub off with a wooden spoon. Remove the pot from the heat and with a slotted spoon carefully lift the peaches out of the water and into the icy water. Peel, halve, pit and slice your peaches immediately into eighths.

Mixing the filling
Take your peaches and mix in the sugar, spices, salt, butter, cornstarch and flour. Take a large (3 quart) rectangular pyrex baking dish and grease lightly. Pour the filling into the baking dish and dot evenly with the candied ginger.

Laying the lattice
Roll out the chilled pie dough and cut 1 1/2 inch strips long enough to span the width of the baking dish. Create a woven pattern on top of the filling very similar to one of those construction paper mats you made in kindergarten. Carefully leave a few loose holes between strips.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for at least 45 minutes. Carefully check the crust to make sure it doesn't scorch or burn. Cover the entire cobbler with foil if the cobbler is in danger of burning.

Serve warm with cold whipped cream or french vanilla ice cream.

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