McMan's Peach-Raspberry Cobbler
We’re right in the middle of fresh peach season, which opens up many gourmet vistas. Last year, I tried peach smoothies, which didn’t work so well. Maybe I should have peeled off the skin first. Thankfully, a few weeks ago I found the perfect solution – peach cobbler.
Essentially, you’re layering a cake over a pie filling. Since a pie crust is little more than a barely-concealed mega-glob of unmitigated butter, you can see why the cobbler route is the preferred way to go. Besides, it’s a lot easier than rolling pie dough. This is the perfect healthy comfort food, with all the advantages of sinful indulgence.
"McMan’s Southern Comfort (Without Real Southern Comfort) Peach-Raspberry Cobbler"
First the cobbler part of the recipe:
Compared to other aspects of cooking, baking tends to be a science, using precise measurements, so I tend not to deviate too far from established recipes. The measurements used here come from a Williams-Sonoma blueberry cobbler recipe, with low-fat and low-cal ingredients substituted for their fatty sugary ones.
In a bowl, stir together your dry ingredients. These include 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour, two teaspoons baking powder, a bit of ground cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and a quarter-cup of Splenda. The Williams-Sonoma recipe calls for a third of a cup of sugar. Splenda is supposed to match up with sugar measure for measure, but I find it much sweeter. You may even find that using half-measures of Splenda works better in your cooking. It’s a matter of individual taste.
Another note about Splenda: Unlike aspartame that is sold under the trade name NutraSweet and Equal, this compound does not destabilize when exposed to high temperatures. This makes Splenda a very satisfactory sugar substitute when baking.
Now the wet ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the equivalent of one egg (such as Egg Beaters), ½ cup skim milk, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, and six tablespoons canola oil. (The Williams-Sonoma recipe calls for egg, buttermilk, and butter.)
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and blend gently with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Don’t overdo it. Overworked gluten in the flour makes you wish you were eating cardboard, instead.
Now to the fruit part of the recipe:
You don’t want to leave sliced fresh peaches sitting around, which is why it’s a good idea to do this part of the recipe last. Boil four or five fresh peaches for a minute, then plunge into cold water. The skin will come right off.
Slice open the peaches, remove the stone, and slice into quarters or chunks. Toss into a bowl with a cup of fresh raspberries. Peaches are one of those fruits that work very well with a partner, such as fresh cherries or mangoes. The idea is to get two complementary or contrasting tastes popping in the mouth.
Add a quarter cup of Splenda and a tablespoon of all-purpose flour. To get the flavor really popping, zest a lemon and toss in. A word about zesting: you are essentially filing off the yellow part of the skin of the lemon with a grater-like instrument. Leave on the underlying white layer. This is the pith and tastes extremely bitter. Get a proper zester. Enlisting a common grater in the cause will result in a lot of scraped knuckles and little zest. Cut what’s left of the lemon into quarters and toss into a pitcher of water. I always have some fresh lemon water on hand in the fridge. You may also want to add a pinch of salt (to the peaches, not the lemon water). Even in fruit, salt brings out the flavor.
With a wooden spoon, gently blend the peach mix then pour into a lightly-oiled baking dish. Spoon the cobbler mix over the top in about six evenly-spaced mounds, with the fruit showing through the spaces. In the oven, the cobbler mix will expand into a unified cake-like top layer.
Pop in a pre-heated 400 degree oven and bake for about 45 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the top is brown and passes the “clean toothpick” test. The cobbler can be served at room temperature, but is positively orgasmic when served hot out of the oven with low fat vanilla ice cream. Serves about six or eight people, or one very hungry one.
Published On: August 10, 2006
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