It’s that time again, where Sunday comes and I share some food with you that’s particularly good for the soul. I’m thrilled to share this recipe with you today because it’s my first time taking one of our actual family recipes and tweaking it a bit to make it more healthy.
Peach cobbler has been my mom’s specialty since she was a teenager and the special recipe was passed down to her from a family friend. This is the dessert that people always ask her to bring to gatherings, the thing that inspired her to start her own business. It really is a gem. So I asked my mom if she would teach me the method so that I could know how to make cobbler and pie on my own.
From what I can tell, it’s not as much the recipe as it is the method that really makes the difference between an okay pie and an oh my looord that’s good pie. So I watched, took pictures, and make lots of notes as my mom made some pies and cobbler for the family (we bought a whole CASE of peaches for this endeavor!).
After learning the ways of the Jedi master, and making a pie with her recipe to really get the method down, I took the plunge and substituted some ingredients to “healthify” this cobbler. Here are the changes I made and reasons why they are good options.
instead of lard or shortening –> Earth Balance shortening (because it contains no hydrogenated oils and has less fat)
instead of all-purpose flour –> half white whole wheat flour (because it has more of the wheat’s natural nutrients like protein)
instead of butter –> Earth Balance sticks (again, no hydrogenated oils and less fat)
instead of white sugar –> organic sugar (more flavor and less processed)
instead of cooking the peaches before baking –>soak them in their own cooked juice overnight (to retain nutrients and texture) –this was a tip from mom!
There are a ton of other things you could do to make this healthier, but I wanted to keep ALL of the qualities of a traditional peach cobbler. You could definitely use agave instead of sugar in the filling or just leave out the sweetener all together, but you will get a different flavor for sure. Or if you’re brave you can use all whole wheat flour instead of just half. This dessert is not completely vegan because it contains an egg, but you can leave the egg out and have a yummy vegan crust! The easiest way to make this is to do the filling and crust the night before, and then assemble and bake your pie a few hours before you want to eat it.
Now how ’bout that recipe?
Perfect Peach Cobbler
For the filling:
- 8 fresh peaches, peeled and thickly sliced
- 1/2 c. + 1/4 c. organic sugar
- 2 t. cornstarch
- 1/4 c. water
-Take your sliced peaches and sprinkle the 1/4 c. sugar over them. Use a spatula to toss the peaches in the sugar until they are coated. Cover and let sit at room temperature to let the peaches macerate (release their juices and soften up) for at least 3 hours. You should get a nice amount of peach juice at the bottom of the bowl.
-Drain the peach juice from the bowl and place that juice in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the 1/2 c. sugar and stir until simmering. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring ocassionaly.
-Stir the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl to dissolve the cornstarch. Add that to the peach juice.
-Stir the juice until it is thick and the cloudiness of the cornstarch goes away. Remove from heat and pour over your fresh peach slices. Stir to coat, cover, and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. Makes filling for ONE cobbler.
For the crust:
- 2 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose organic flour
- 2 1/2 c. organic white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 lb. Earth Balance shortening (2 sticks)
- 2 1/2 Earth Balance buttery baking sticks
- 2 t. salt
- 4 t. organic brown sugar
- 1/2 t. baking powder
- 1 T. apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 c. ice water
- 1 egg
-In a mixing bowl of food processor bowl, mix together the flours, salt, sugar, and baking powder.
-Cut the shortening and 1 buttery baking stick into small pieces and dump that into the dry ingredients. Mix on the lowest speed for a couple minutes, until the shortening and “butter” are broken down into large pea size pieces.
-In a small bowl, whisk together the ice water, egg, and vinegar. Pour the liquid into the rest of the dough ingredients, making sure not to get the ice cubes in there with it.
-This is the part where to have to be careful! Mix on LOW in increments of about 5 seconds, JUST until the mixture starts to ball together and look like an actual dough. This will take less than 30 seconds of mixing, it doesn’t take much.
-Empty the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, gently form it into a ball, and refrigerate until ready to assemble. Makes crust for TWO cobblers.
When you’re ready to assemble:
-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
-On a large floured piece of plastic wrap, roll the dough out into a rectangle with a rolling pin. Roll in one direction and then pick up the pin to roll in another direction (try not to roll back and forth in the same movement).
-Fill your baking dish (I used 9 x 13) with your prepared filling.
-Use the remaining half of an Earth Balance stick to dot the top of the filling.
-Take your rolled out crust and lift it up using the plastic wrap. Carefully flip it upside down over the cobbler pan to cover the top. Pinch the edges down (however you like, this is a rustic situation) and score the dough with a pair of kitchen shears.
-Bake in the preheated oven for about an hour, or until the crust is a nice deep brown.
Let it cool, while it stares you down in all its sweet juicy beauty, for at least one slow and agonizing hour.
Spoon out and enjoy! One cobbler makes 10 dessert servings.
A flaky, buttery crust–without the butter! I’ve got nothing against butter though, and you are more than welcome to use it instead if that’s how you roll.
The peaches inside will be the PERFECT consistency from being fresh and soaked in their own juices. Not too mushy, but not too firm. This counts as a serving of fruit, people!
You can bet your bottom dollar that you will be seeing more of this pie crust in the future. And hopefully I’ll get around to some experimentation with other types of whole grain flour! Oh, the possibilities!
Thanks for reading!