Georgia the country, much like Georgia the state, has a knack for good peaches. Wooden bins at the local fruit markets here are overflowing with the juiciest, softest and sweetest peaches around; not only that, but there is a massive variety. There are apple peaches, custard peaches, Saturn peaches, freestone peaches, white peaches, nectarines, and countless others. This was why I just could not let another summer pass without making a classic southern peach cobbler. Once we moved to Tbilisi, I was immediately warned of the brutal summers and Hell weeks that took place in June and July every year. Little did they know, I’m a Texas girl. I was waiting for 110 degree days and sopping humidity that never came – not in the way I was expecting, at least. Nonetheless, it does get hot here, with most afternoons sitting around 80F/26C. Whether you’re suffering through 100+ degree or a balmy 75 and sunny day, this peach cobbler is the perfect treat.
There is simply nothing more Southern than peach cobbler in the summer. Bonus points if you’re on a front porch swing or a family bbq. It’s the ultimate deep south dessert right up there with banana pudding, pecan pie, and hummingbird cake. It’s so loved in fact, that April 13th is National Peach Cobbler Day. Yep, it’s a thing.
Despite nowadays being revered as a Southern classic, it’s roots actually lie somewhere around the East coast. In the early 1800s, during the early years of European settlement, many immigrants from the UK, Germany, and Scandinavia were eager to recreate their favorite pie recipes they’d left behind in the “Old World.” As they continued to fan out from the colonies, their access to pie fruit became more limited. Out on the trail to resettlement, they had to make do with fruits they’d preserved like peaches, plums, and cherries. They were also limited to dutch ovens and open fires with sparse resources for dough ie. baking powder and flour, the end. Their only means for making a “pie” was to dump it in a pot, heat it over a fire, and wish for the best. Peach cobbler was essentially a pie on the go. Over the centuries, it’s become a staple in the South and a favorite at all summer gatherings. With the availability of fruit in the South, cobbler started to be made with fresh fruits that were then sugared on the stove (this recipe) and baked in an oven. The additions of cinnamon and a hearty scoop of ice cream also became a tradition over time.
First and foremost, cobbler is messy. It’s all about the flavor and less about the presentation, meaning it isn’t supposed to be pretty. The ingredients are basic – sure, you can add buttermilk for a softer dough, an egg, a dash of vanilla, etc. and it will be delicious! But what makes cobbler so great is it’s simplicity. A generous scoop of vanilla ice cream is mandatory – over the years as cobbler has become less of a nomadic treat and more of a homestyle staple, the addition of ice cream has become part of a ‘traditional’ recipe.
Simple, humble, and foolproof to make, this peach cobbler recipe is just what you need to beat the heat this summer – wherever you are in the world! So let’s get started.