I grew up in Eastern New Mexico. Which is basically West Texas. Which is basically the South. Basically. And in the South, when someone is ailing, grieving, winging it as a single parent for a week with a house full of kids, or whatever – we bring food. The more comforting the dish, the better.
Enter: homemade peach cobbler. The BEST peach cobbler you’ll likely ever have.
My Aunt Mary could have been my grandmother. The oldest in a family of eight children, Aunt Mary has acted like our grandmother as far back as I can remember. She picked me up from school, she made a few dresses for me, she always gave away the best homemade treats at Halloween and she stood in place of my own ailing grandmother when I got married. Did the same for both my brothers’ weddings, too. Aunt Mary also brings food. I would guess it is her first thought when she hears of someone’s suffering.
A few years ago my dad’s 20 year-old carpentry business and production shop burned to the ground in one night. I remember us all sitting around the dining room table a couple days later, feeling numb and really not knowing what to say or do next. It was as if a close family member had passed away. Aunt Mary walked in holding this still-warm peach cobbler and a pint of vanilla ice cream. We made a bowl and after the first bite, I felt a little bit of weight released from my shoulders as my heart sank into those amazing flavors. It was the food-equivalent of a hug. It could have been the emotions of the day or the fact that we all love Aunt Mary so much, but I think it was the best peach cobbler, or any cobbler, I’d ever had in my life.
When my grandpa passed away a couple weeks ago, we were sitting around the house the afternoon after his funeral and Aunt Mary called. She said, “I was just sitting here and realized that I NEVER brought over any food!” I smiled and said quietly to myself, “please let it be peach-” at the same time she said, “I JUST made a peach cobbler. Can I drop by?”
And the same comfort washed over us, again. This time my uncle had the first taste and in his quiet demeanor, he just nodded and said, “That IS the best cobbler I’ve ever had.” And he’s a farmer. He knows his cobbler. I sat Aunt Mary down before she could leave and told her that this time, she HAD to tell me the recipe. So, from memory she just told me how she did it. I love recipes like that. She even apologized and blushed a little when she told me how much sugar. 🙂
So I want to give this comforting recipe to you. So you can give it to someone else. Food, sometimes, is so much more than nourishment, calories, ingredients, fast or fancy restaurants. It can be those words you don’t know how to say or that comfort you wish you could provide but just don’t know how.
1 stick unsalted butter
2 – 28 oz cans of sliced peaches (don’t drain. And the ounces may vary. Aunt Mary just said, “Not the soup-can size – the bigger one! So I guessed.)
3 cups sugar (I know. You might eat this once a year. It’s okay.)
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt (she told me 1/8 tsp salt, but kosher is bigger so I always double the amount if I’m using it)
1/2 cup milk
Preheat your oven to 400F. In a 9×13 pan, melt the stick of butter in the oven.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the peaches with their syrup, two cups of sugar and let it start bubbling. Meanwhile, mix flour and the remaining cup of sugar, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and then add the milk.
Pour the batter on top of the melted butter. Then pour the peach mixture over the batter. Bake about 40 minutes until the batter is a rich brown. I’d really advise letting this cool down considerably before eating. You’ll think there’s waaaaaay too much syrup, but it thickens upon cooling and you have this glorious syrup to pour over your ice cream. Worth it.