I love the flavor and aroma of ripe peaches, plums and cherries in the summertime and fall. It is so easy to just slice and eat these juicy, ripe fruit for a healthy, delicious snack. These stone fruit also make great cobblers, pies and other desserts. The recipe, “Stone Fruit Skillet Cobbler,” is an example. This simple recipe is similar to a traditional pies, but without all the fuss. Prepare and bake the cobbler in the same dish — a cast iron skillet. Top with an easy puff pastry top crust. Any of these stone fruits can be used in the dessert; this time I used peaches. For an added southern touch, I used Sugar in the Raw®, a Turbinado sugar made exclusively from sugarcane, in the dessert and top crust. This cobbler is delicious.
Ripe peaches might easily be my most favorite summertime fruit. Although peaches grow in the northern part of our state of Louisiana, the harvest is not enough for all the local market needs. Therefore, I’m always on the lookout for peaches which are brought in from other parts of the country. These peaches are from Titan Farms in Ridge Spring, South Carolina, and are marketed as “Lori Anne Peaches.” This label includes several varieties of peaches.
Peaches which are sold commercially in stores typically are not completely ripe. Luckily, peaches will continue to to ripen after picking. This fruit emits ethylene gas and trapping that gas within a bag will help the fruit ripen. So set the peaches in a brown paper bag (to trap the ethylene gas) and set on a warm kitchen counter for several days. Watch closely. As the peaches finish ripening and become juicy and sweet they also spoil quickly, too. To help things along, add a banana or apple to the bag as these fruit also emit ethylene gas.
And I like my new kitchen “gadget.” it is an 8″-diameter cast iron deep casserole dish. It is made of the same materials as a cast iron skillet. The casserole dish is just right for two people and makes a small dessert, entrée or side dish. As with all cast iron kitchen ware, don’t put them dish washer to wash them. They come from the factory already “seasoned” and tempered. Dishwashing destroys this finish. Simply wash with a non-scraping sponge and then dry completely. Rub a little oil over all surfaces. Otherwise, the cast iron skillet and casserole dishes will rust. (But, don’t throw it away, just rub with a little oil such as canola oil.)
What is a stone fruit?
For a bit of trivia, stone fruit are fruit with a pit in the center; they are also called drupes because their flesh surrounds a shell that houses an edible seed. The fruit have a thin skin. This category includes peaches, apricots, plums, cherries and nectarines. It also includes almonds, olives, dates, coconut, lychees, mangos, blackberries and raspberries. However, apples and pears and not considered to be stone fruit — they are poms — and without getting into a botanic lecture — I’ll just except the terms. I’ve narrowed my “Stone Fruit Cobbler” down to peaches, plums and cherries as the main ingredient!
This peach cobbler recipe is easy to make. It includes just a few ingredients. I used ground ginger for some spice, a little salt and Sugar in the Raw® for sweetness. This is a Turbinado sugar which is made from sugarcane. It is course in texture and has a hint of molasses flavor. When sprinkled on top of the cobbler, the surface glitters!
It is best to peel the peaches prior to mixing everything together. Put the peaches in boiling water for several minutes to blanch them. Then dip in ice water. If the peaches are ripe, the skins should easily slip off. (This won’t work if the peaches are not ripe.) Then remove the pit and slice the peaches.
To make the peach filling, cook and stir the peaches in a little butter in the cast iron casserole dish directly on the stove. After several minutes, the juices begin to seep out of the sliced peaches. Mix together the Turbinado sugar, flour, ginger and salt in a small bowl. Add to the peaches, stirring well.
Top the cobbler with a puff pastry crust. Thaw and unfold one sheet of the puff pastry on a lightly floured board. (Refreeze and use the second puff pastry sheet for another recipe.) I cut small hearts out of the pastry dough. Then carefully pick up the puff pastry and center it on the casserole dish. Trim. I used the cut-out hearts to decorate. Spread ice water on the back of the pastry heart so it will stick to the dough. Then blend up an egg with a little water. Brush the egg wash over the crust and sprinkle on more Turbinado sugar.
Place the cast iron casserole dish to the oven. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. The cobbler is finished.
Why do I like this cobbler recipe? It is so simple to make. The cobbler is mixed up entirely in the cast iron casserole dish — it doesn’t use many extra pots or bowls. Using pre-packed puff pastry sheet for the top crust also simplifies this recipe.
Yum! This cobbler is especially tasty with ice cream or whipped topping. Although the dessert should serve four people, my husband and I ate the entire dish. In other words, we devoured it.
Other stone fruit — plums (don’t peel them) or seeded and pitted tart cherries — can be substituted to make the cobbler. I can’t wait to try these variations.
I hope to find more peaches in local farmer’s markets and grocery stores this late summer and fall . I hope you do, too. Enjoy this cobbler.
Stone Fruit Skillet Cobbler with Puff Pastry Crust
- 2 lb fresh peaches (about 5 medium-sized peaches)* (or plums or cherries)
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/3 cup Raw Sugar, plus more for sprinkling on crust*
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 (17.3 oz) pkg frozen puff pastry sheets, 1 sheet, thawed1
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Vanilla ice cream, for serving, optional
Method and Steps:
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- To easily peel peaches and remove skins: bring a large pot of water to boiling, Immerse peaches in boiling water for a minute. Then transfer to a large bowl of ice water. Remove from ice water. The peels should slip off.
- Halve peaches, removing stone. Slice. Set aside
- Melt butter in 9″ cast iron pot on medium heat of stove.
- Add peaches and cook for 2 – 3 minutes until peaches begin to release juices, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- In a small bowl, combine raw sugar, flour, ground ginger and salt. Stir into cooked peaches in cast iron skillet. Set aside.
- For crust: on lightly floured board, unfold one sheet of puff pastry and roll to 10″ square. (Save second piece for another use.) Cut slits in puff pastry to make decorative pattern, but not entirely to edges.
- Gently fold puff pastry in fourths and carefully place the puff pastry over the filling, centering the puff pastry. Undo folds so that puff pastry covers entire skillet. Trim edges. If desired make small patterns with remaining pieces and place on top
- Brush beaten egg over puff pastry. Sprinkle with raw sugar.
- Bake in center rack of oven for 25 minutes until crust is golden and cobbler is bubbly.
- Remove from oven, and let set about 15 minutes prior to serving.
- Cut and serve with vanilla ice cream, optional.
*NOTE: May substitute fresh plums (don’t peel) or pitted cherries.
**Note May substitute brown sugar in filling; use raw sugar or turbine sugar for sprinkling on crust.