Gloria Spittel bakes a fruity crumble
A cobbler has two parts – a crisp yet crumbly layer that hides a fruit filling. The filling can be made with any fruit but the variant using peaches probably led to its popularity.
Cobblers have a long history that dates back centuries to the first colonial settlements on the North American continent. The crumbly layer of the dish is variously termed ‘biscuit’ or ‘dumpling,’ depending on whether the recipe is
is from an American or a British source. Irrespective of the confusion these terms may cause, the dish itself is rather easy to prepare. It can be eaten hot, cold, on its own, with crème anglais or a scoop of ice cream.
Here’s a recipe that uses canned peach halves; but you can substitute peaches with any fruit such as mangoes or a tropical mix. Others options include strawberries, apples, cherries and lemons.
FOR THE FILLING
If you decide to use canned peaches, discard the syrup. Cut the peaches into chunks and measure five cups. If you opt for fresh peaches, then peel, pit and cut them into chunks.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Place the peaches in a baking dish and add the dark-brown sugar, lemon juice, cornflour, vanilla, spices and salt. Mix it well. Bake the filling for 10 minutes to soften the fruit (this step can be omitted for canned fruits).
To make the crumble layer, use two cups of all-purpose flour (or a combination of one cup of all-purpose flour, ¾ cup of whole wheat flour and ¼ cup of rolled oats).
Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Make sure the butter is cold and cubed. Work fast and incorporate the butter into the flour mix using a pastry cutter, fork or fingers. The result should resemble a coarse mixture.
Pour the buttermilk in a steady stream into the dry mixture and combine until all the ingredients are incorporated.
Then take the baked peach mixture out of the oven. Make small disks of the crumble mix and arrange a layer on the fruit filling. It’s all right if there are gaps and the peach filling shows through.
Brush the crumble layer with egg wash and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the crumble layer has risen and browned, and an inserted tester comes out clean.
Enjoy straight out of the oven on its own or with a scoop of ice cream.
NOTE To make a quick and easy buttermilk substitute, add a tablespoon of freshly squeezed le-mon juice or distilled white vinegar to a cup of whole milk. For ½ a cup of buttermilk, reduce the ingredients by half. Pour them into a measuring cup, stir and let it stand for 5-10 minutes. When it is ready, the milk will thicken slightly and curdle.