Here's the results of my research so far. The basic differences I found in the "real" Peach Cobbler recipes are (1) flavorings added: vanilla or almond extract; cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice; or filling basically unflavored (2) whether the fruit and sugar mixture is cooked before baking with the crust, and (3) whether the center crust strips are baked separately before being submerged in the fruit. The sugar-butter-flour-fruit mixture is consistent, varying only in relative amounts -- maybe somewhere in here you'll be able to recreate your memories.
The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery
Probably no other ingredient so changed the dessert scene as refined white sugar. Some of the resulting desserts were amazingly simple, such as Ione Dickerson’s strawberry dumplings: “You make strawberry dumplings just like you do chicken dumplings. Just have your strawberries boiling good. Of course, you have to put water, sugar, and butter in that, and just drop your dumplings in it like you do any other dumplings. When you make dumplings, it is just as good as a baked cobbler with a crust.”
Cobblers and Pies
With flour came the possibility of cobblers, pies, custards, cookies, cakes, and other desserts.
Ruth Cabe explained about cobblers. “Cobblers were the usual pie -- blackberries, huckleberries, rhubarb, fresh apples or dried apples in winter, cherries, sweet potatoes, strawberries. A deep dish pie, or cobbler, is one that has no crust on the bottom. It has fruit on the bottom. Some people put fruit, a layer of pie dough, a layer of fruit, then their crust on top. They started it cooking on top of the stove because when they put it in the oven, the crust on top would get done before the layer of dough in the middle. By cooking it for a few minutes on top of the stove first, and the finishing it in the oven, it would cook evenly.
Bertha Waldrop tells us how she makes a cobbler: I cut up the fruit and take the seeds out -- use any fruit you want to. I use a square pan now. I put the fruit in the pan, usually a quart of fruit, and put some sugar on them -- it takes a lot of sugar. And we used butter like we had then. For a quart of berries, I use about two tablespoons of butter, stir it around in the fruit, and cover the fruit with the dough. Roll it out right thin, cut it in strips, and put it in the pan with the fruit.
Mary Cabe said: “I bake what I call an oven pie. I put fruit in the bottom of the pan. Then I make up my dough and put it on top of my fruit. I cook it on top of the stove till the stuff gets to boiling good. Then I set it in the oven and bake it.”
Peach Cobbler Supreme
Bettye Wilmoth Webb, Blytheville, AR
(from a church cookbook)
about 8 c. sliced fresh peaches
2 c. sugar
2 to 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. almond or vanilla extract
1/2 c. butter or margarine
pastry for double-crust pie
Pastry For Double-Crust Pie:
4 to 5 Tbsp. cold water
2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. shortening
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
For Pastry: Combine the flour and salt. Cut in shortening with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle cold water (1 tablespoon at a time) evenly over surface, that is 4 to 5 tablespoons cold water. Stir with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened. Shape into a ball; chill.
For Cobbler: Combine the first 4 ingredients in a Dutch oven; set aside until syrup forms. Bring peach mixture to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat; add almond extract and butter, stirring until butter melts.
Roll half of the pastry to 1/8-inch-thick square. Spoon half of the peaches into a lightly buttered 8-inch square baking dish. Top with pastry square. Bake at 425° for 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon remaining peaches over baked pastry square. Roll remaining pastry to 1/8-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch strips; arrange in lattice design over peaches. Bake at 425° for 15 to 18 minutes or until browned.
The Original Tennessee Homecoming Cookbook
Favorite Recipes Edited by Daisy King (1985)
Old-Fashioned Peach Cobbler
Linda Henry, Knoxville
This is the best peach cobbler I have ever tasted. It has brought me many compliments and has won First Prize at a fair.
8 or 9 peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup water
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons self-rising flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
Cook peaches in water until tender. Mix flour, salt, and sugar. Add to peaches. Mix. Add melted butter.
Pastry for Cobbler:
1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
4 tablespoons sweet milk, or enough to make a stiff dough
Blend flour, salt, and shortening to coarse meal texture. Add milk. Roll on floured surface. Pour half of peaches in 9x13-inch pan. Cut some dumplings and push dumplings down into the peach juice. Pour remaining peaches in, and top with lattice strips. Bake in a 350 degree oven 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Note: I like to sprinkle a little sugar on top before baking. This should be a juicy cobbler, not dry.
Original Whistle Stop Café Cookbook
Fannie Flagg (1993)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup whipping cream
8 cups sliced fresh peaches
2 cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons all-purpose four
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup butter
Combine first 4 ingredients: cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle cream over mixture and toss with fork until dough forms a ball. Knead 4 or 5 times; wrap in plastic wrap, and chill at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, combine fruit, 2 cups sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a dutch oven; set aside until syrup forms. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer uncovered 10 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla and butter until melted. Preheat oven to 475°F. Roll half of pastry to a 12x-8” rectangle. Spoon half of fruit into a lightly buttered 12x8x2-inch baking dish. Place pastry on top. Sprinkle with a little sugar; bake for 15 minutes or until very lightly browned. Spoon remaining fruit on top; roll remaining pastry to 1/8-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch strips. Arrange strips in lattice design over peaches. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake 20 additional minutes or until browned.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.
Great Desserts of the South
Mary Leigh Furrh and Jo Barksdale (1988)
Grandmother’s Peach Cobbler
Melts in your mouth
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
3 tablespoons ice water
1/2 cup butter
4 cups peaches (about 9 medium) peeled and sliced
1-1/2 cups water
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
Beaten egg white
Combine first 3 ingredients with a fork or pastry blender to make pastry. Add ice water. Form dough. Wrap in wax paper and chill for 8 hours. When ready to make the cobbler, roll out pastry and cut into strips. Reserve enough strips to make a lattice top on cobbler. Place remaining strips on a cookie sheet and bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until crisp. To make the filling: mix butter, peaches, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Blend sugar, flour, and cinnamon, stirring into boiling mixture until dissolved. Remove from heat, and add almond extract. Grease an 8-1/2x9-1/2-inch baking dish. Place half the peach mixture in dish, top with cooked pastry strips. Add remaining peach mixture and place uncooked pastry strips over top in lattice fashion. Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake at 375° for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm with cream. Serves 8.
Martha White’s Southern Sampler
Old-Fashioned Peach Cobbler
Pre-baked strips of flaky pastry are layered with the peach filling -- the result is perfection.
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1-1/3 cups shortening
2/3 cup water
Preheat oven to 400° F. Stir together flour and salt in mixing bowl. Cut in half of shortening using pastry blender or two knives until mixture is fine and mealy. Cut in remaining shortening until mixture is consistency of small peas. Sprinkle water over the mixture; stir gently with a fork until dough leaves sides of bowl. Mixture should be moist enough to form a ball but should not be sticky. Press dough into a smooth ball. Divide dough into thirds. On lightly floured board or pastry cloth, roll out a third of the dough as thinly as possible, about 1/8-inch thick. Cut into 3x1-inch strips with floured knife or pastry wheel. Place strips on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack. Cover remaining dough. Prepare filling as directed.
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
7 cups (about 3 pounds) sliced fresh or frozen peaches
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, divided.
Reduce oven temperature to 375° F. Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Stir together sugar and flour. Add peaches, water, and almond extract; stir to blend. Roll out half of the remaining dough in shape of baking dish, about 1/8-inch thick. Fit pastry into bottom and up sides of dish leaving a 1-inch overhang. Spoon half of filling into pastry shell. Dot with half the butter. Scatter baked pastry strips over filling. Spoon remaining filling over pastry strips. Dot with remaining butter. Roll out remaining dough in shape of baking dish, about 1/8-inch thick. Cut into 3/4-inch wide strips with floured knife or pastry wheel. Weave strips of crust to form a lattice top. Seal and form decorative edge as desired. Bake of 50 to 60 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling begins to bubble. Cool on wire rack. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Beyond Grits and Gravy
Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley (2004)
Houmas House had many visitors back in the mid-1800s, and often they would write of their experiences on the plantation. One such visitor wrote about the wonderful peas that were grown in the garden and eaten day after day. He mentioned the mint juleps served before breakfast and the fabulous peach cobbler that ended every meal. Here is a rendition of that dish.
6 cups peeled, sliced peaches
1-3/4 cups sugar, divided
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons flour
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of allspice
Preheat oven to 400° F. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine peaches, 1-1/2 cups sugar, and water. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer, and allow fruit to cook until softened. In a measuring cup, blend flour, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Pour into the peach mixture, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and pour the mixture into a 9-inch black iron skillet or cobbler pan, and allow to cool slightly.
(Proceed with crust and directions as in recipes above.)
Happy Sampling, Honeybit
Last edited on 9/4/2012
Last edited on 9/4/2012