A ripe peach is a beautiful thing: juicy, sweet and full of flavour. But this tender summer fruit has a short shelf life, and is quick to ripen and easily bruised. If your peaches do become over-ripe or bruised, that is the point at which they’re at their most flavourful, so make use of them in other ways. Bypass the unappealing texture of bruised peach by whizzing it into a puree and enjoy the resulting golden nectar as it is, or freeze (in an ice-cube tray, say) for later use. Add a cube to some fizz to make an instant bellini, use in smoothies or blend 100g frozen peach with a double shot of rum and a twist of lime to make a frozen daiquiri.
Ripe peaches are also great in cooking, and make an especially wonderful cobbler, an old-fashioned pudding that’s a bit like a crumble, but with a cakey, scone-like mixture on top. There’s no need to peel the fruit, either: peach skins soften nicely and add pleasing streaks of sunset red to a dish.
Peach cobbler is my new favourite dessert. It’s a rich, comforting and fruity, and even better the next day, served cold for breakfast.
Cobbler recipes vary greatly and feature everything from beef stew to blackberries. Some have a more biscuity topping than others, but the one thing they share in common is that they feature scones sat pebbled on top of the filling, like dumplings. For a sweet cobbler, however, I prefer a softer, spongy, more cake-like mixture.
Prep 10 min
Cook 35 min
3 large peaches, halved and stoned
Zest and juice of 1 small lemon wedge (ie, from ⅛ lemon)
130g unrefined sugar
90g whole spelt (or wheat) flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 pinch sea salt
60g cold butter, cut into small cubes
4-5 tbsp buttermilk (or yoghurt)
Cut the fruit into large cubes, then put in a small roasting tin and toss with the lemon zest and juice and 20g of the sugar. In a bowl, mix the flour with the remaining sugar, baking powder, thyme leaves and salt, then rub in the butter much as you would to make acrumble. Stir in the buttermilk until the mix is just combined, then drop uneven spoonfuls of the batter on top of the peaches; don’t press them down.
Bake in a 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7 oven for 25 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling, and serve hot with ice-cream, cream, yoghurt or creme fraiche.