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Experiencing the power of the peach with Honey-Peach Ice Cream and Sweet Peach Muffins is like squinting at an eclipse through a hole in a shoebox.

To taste the full, unbridled, goshamighty all-powerful flavor of the summer peach, there must be cobbler.

Sweet, buttery, bubbling peach cobbler.

This is Edna Lewis‘ Fresh Peach Cobbler. Seven sliced peaches sprinkled with sugar and swaddled in buttery pastry with – OK, take a deep breath – 1 1/2 sticks of butter.

Judge harshly, if you must, but my solution was to break up the cobbler with a spoon (instead of cutting slices) and take it to our family reunion. Anything with that much buttery goodness is meant for sharing.

I love the old-fashioned simplicity of this dessert, but I strongly urge you to complicate it mightily with a big scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream.

Sweet goodness, it’s blackout good. Although that might be all the butter.

Fresh Peach Cobbler

Adapted from Edna Lewis’ “In Pursuit of Flavor”

  • Butter Pie Pastry (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 7 large peaches
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  1. Roll out half the pie dough, and press into an 8-inch pie dish that is 2 inches deep. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar and refrigerate.
  2. Roll out the rest of the pie dough, and cut into 8 strips for a lattice top. Lay the strips between wax paper and refrigerate.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  4. Peel and slice the peaches. Sprinkle half of the remaining sugar over the pie crust, and lay the sliced peaches in the pie plate. Mound the last few slices in the center. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar over the fruit and dot with thin slices of butter. Weave the pastry strips over the fruit, four going one way and four the other. Moisten the rim of the pie with cold water, and press the strips down to seal.
  5. Set the cobbler on the middle rack of the oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 425 degrees F, and bake for another 35 minutes. Let the cobbler cool for about 30 minutes before serving.

Butter Pie Pastry

Makes enough for a double crust

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Scant teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) firmly chilled or frozen unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  1. Put the flour, salt and butter in a mixing bowl. Blend well with a pastry blender or the tips of your fingers, until the mixture is the texture of cornmeal.
  2. Add the ice water, mix quickly, and shape the dough into a ball.
  3. Dust the dough lightly with flour and shape into a flat cake. Wrap in wax paper, and put in the refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes.

Nutmeg Sauce

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 2-inch piece dried orange peel
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  1. To Dry the Orange Peel: Peel an orange. (Set aside the fruit to eat later.) Scrape the white pith from the peel. Place the peel on a wire rack, and let it sit for several days at room temperature, until the peel completely dries out. It can keep for weeks in a covered jar.
  2. In a small saucepan, mix together the sugar, salt, cornstarch, and nutmeg.
  3. Stir in the boiling water.
  4. Add the orange peel, and keep the mixture gently boiling over medium heat for 12 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, and stir in the brandy.
  6. Cover the pan, and set aside.
  7. When you’re ready to serve the sauce, reheat it over low heat. (Don’t let it come to a boil.) Remove the orange peel before serving.