Why It Works
- Lemon juice balances the sweetness of the peaches and sugar.
- A small amount of cornstarch is just enough to thicken the peach juices without making them gloppy.
- A simple syrup glaze creates a crackly, micro-thin crust on the biscuit.
The perfect peach cobbler is also a simple one. This recipe whips up quickly and features lightly sweetened summer peaches in a rich syrup, topped with a moist and tender biscuit that's perfect for soaking up all those juices.
- For the Peach Filling:
- 2 pounds (about 8 medium) firm but ripe summer peaches, pitted and cut into roughly 3/4-inch cubes (about 5 1/2 cups; see note)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional; see note)
- 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
- Pinch kosher salt
- Generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg (optional; see note)
- 2 drops almond extract (optional; see note)
- For the Biscuit Topping:
- 5 1/4 ounces (1 cup) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (4 ounces), divided
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- Ice cream or whipped cream, for serving
For the Peach Filling: Preheat oven to 400°F and set rack to middle position. In a large bowl, combine peaches with sugar, lemon juice, bourbon, cornstarch, salt, nutmeg, and almond extract. Stir well to combine. Scrape peaches and any juices into an 8- by 8-inch baking dish and set on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake on middle rack for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the Biscuit Topping: In a large bowl, stir together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and quickly toss to coat with flour. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into dry ingredients until it resembles coarse meal. Alternatively, cut butter into dry ingredients by pulsing in a food processor until it resembles coarse meal, then transfer to a bowl. Using a fork, stir in milk until mixture just comes together into a slightly sticky dough; avoid over-mixing.
Drop spoonfuls of biscuit dough all over peaches, smoothing slightly to avoid any overly thick sections and mostly covering the fruit (though a few gaps and cracks are fine); leave a small opening in the center. Alternatively, if you prefer individual sections of biscuit instead of a more complete covering, use less dough and space the spoonfuls farther apart.
Return cobbler to oven and cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons water. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, swirling frequently. Cook until all sugar is dissolved and syrup thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Keep syrup warm. Using a pastry brush, brush a thin layer of syrup all over biscuit topping; discard any remaining syrup.
Return cobbler to oven and bake until browned on top and biscuit is fully cooked through (a cake tester should come out clean when inserted into biscuit near the center of the baking dish), about 25 minutes longer. Let rest at least 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream on the side.
Pastry blender or food processor, 8- by 8-inch (2-quart) baking dish, rimmed baking sheet, pastry brush
Feel free to slice and/or peel the peaches, if that's your preference; the recipe will work either way. The flavorings here, like almond extract, nutmeg, and bourbon, are entirely optional. You can omit them or substitute other spices or flavorings of your choice.