Indulge me, if you will. I could not be more excited about my peach crop this year. I must have pulled dozens of peaches last week from my one little tree and still have a bunch more to pick. The boys love them, too, so add to that score the ones Lucas and Graham snatch while dad’s away.
So if I get long-winded about peaches this year, well tough. This is my first chance to brag on my crop, and I won’t let any of you burst my bubble. I’m learning more each day about the peach and what I can do with 50 or 60 of them.
So where did the almighty peach come from? China is actually the native homeland of our pitted pal, and is still the largest producer. This was surprising to me, as I would have guessed Mesopotamian origins. Let’s face it. That sneaky little Eve could have tempted me with a McIntosh or a Golden Delicious, and I may have bitten, depending on my mood. But had she dangled a peach in my face, there would be no doubt of the outcome. It’s the irresistible force of the fruit world.
From China the peach meandered to the Middle East where it became known as the Persian Apple. So maybe my Adam and Eve reference was not too far off the mark. From the Cradle of Civilization the peach spread to South America with Spanish explorers, then to France and England. Next stop was the New World of Virginia, where Native Americans would spread the seeds throughout the rest of the country.
Belonging to the genus Prunus, the peach is a kissing cousin to the cherry and the plum. Ever notice how the pit of a peach resembles an unshelled almond? It’s not a coincidence. They share the same subgenus Amygdalus. Of course, the nectarine is a peach with a smooth skin because of a recessive gene. There is the science. So what makes them so special?
It’s the perfect balance between sweetness and tartness. If you want one less sweet, then eat them earlier. A ripe peach is an explosion of flavor. I recall an episode of “Seinfeld” where Kramer describes a peach saying, “It’s like having a circus going on inside of your mouth.” That quote always stuck with me.
With all of these peaches you would think I would be running out of things to do with them. That is simply not true. The most important part of the peach crop is to enjoy them in their natural state. They need no help in becoming a delicious treat, and I need no help convincing myself to eat them. The second most important part of dealing with a crop of peaches is to not overthink it. The next time you fire up the ice cream maker, just toss a few slices in there. You don’t have to do anything special.
Then the time comes when you should do something special. In my house that means cobbler. This can be a drawn out process if you make it that way. I have no problem taking the shortcut of using Bisquick, and today’s recipe does just that. As a bonus the kids love to help.
Lucas knew what marvel awaited at the end of that kitchen timer. Graham was skeptical and wanted another raw peach until he tasted the cobbler. Now it puts him into a zombie like state wanting more. It’s as easy as, um, pie. Don’t be scared.
1 quart peeled and sliced fresh peaches
½ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Ground cinnamon to taste
1 ½ cups Bisquick mix
2 Tablespoons sugar
½ cup milk
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
The hardest part is peeling the peaches. For the size my tree produces it took almost 10 peaches to make a quart. Keep in mind that as I was peeling them I would take a bite from anything stuck to the fuzzy skin. I was also not hesitant to leave a bit on the pit, gladly cleaning it with my teeth. You may have more self-control and are able to fill your needs with fewer peaches.
Combine the sugar, water, flour, and lemon juice with the peaches in a large saucepan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bring to a boil. Cook for about a minute and remove from heat. Pour mixture into an 8-by-8 baking dish, ungreased.
Combine the mix and sugar in a medium bowl and add the milk. Stir until the dough forms. Pour the dough bit by bit over the hot peach mixture. While you are at it sprinkle a little granulated sugar on top.
Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.
We serve this hot, as it should be, with a scoop of Old Dutch vanilla ice cream on the side. Dad can be so uncool at times, but is elevated to hero status with something as good as homemade peach cobbler. It’s a father and sons story that begins with the picking of one single peach, and ends with a belly full of joy.