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PEACH SALSA AND PEACH COBBLER

By From 'A Feast of Fruits, ' by Elizabeth Riely (MacMillan Publishing Co., 1993) / August 3, 1995



PEACH SALSA

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This quick fresh salsa makes a lively accompaniment to poultry, pork, ham, or duck. Make the salsa about 30 minutes before serving.

1 large ripe peach

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/4 cup diced red onion

1/4 cup seeded and diced green bell pepper

2 teaspoons green peppercorns, rinsed and dried, or diced fresh, hot chile pepper to taste

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

Peel, pit, and cube the peach to measure about one cup. Toss it in a bowl with the lime juice right away to keep the flesh from turning dark. Add the onion, bell pepper, peppercorns, and oil, and stir. Taste carefully to adjust the seasonings. Just before serving, stir in the coriander. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

PEACH COBBLER

In a cobbler, biscuit dough is spread over a juicy fruit that moistens the dough during baking. It is often spooned on in mounds that look like cobblestones, hence the dish's name. Sometimes the topping gets heavy, so in this version, it is rolled thin and cut in flower shapes, allowing the peach juice to bubble through.

3 pounds ripe peaches (about 8)

1/3 cup sugar, or to taste

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

Dash of ground cinnamon (optional)

FOR THE COBBLER DOUGH:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 large egg

3/4 cup buttermilk

Peel, pit, and slice the peaches to measure about 6-1/2 cups. In a large bowl, toss them with the sugar, lemon juice, and tapioca. If you like, add a little cinnamon. Turn the peaches into a large, shallow ovenproof pan, about 9-inches square, or any other shape of dish and let it sit 15 minutes for the tapioca to work.

Meanwhile make the biscuit dough. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together in a medium-sized bowl the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter and with a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingertips, quickly break up the butter into small pieces. Beat the egg into the buttermilk and stir into the dry ingredients to make a smooth soft dough. Quickly knead the dough on a lightly floured board, no more than 1 minute, and roll it out to 1/3-inch thickness. With a flower- or star-shaped cookie cutter (or a plain circle will do), cut out the dough and lay the biscuits barely touching each other on top of the peaches.

Bake the cobbler until the topping is lightly browned and cooked through, about 45 minutes. Serve it warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Makes 8 servings.