Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Paula Dean's Peach Cobbler

I went into making Paula Dean's recipe for Peach Cobbler determined to achieve two goals. The first: Use the peaches I purchased to bake with BEFORE they go bad. Remember the mold fiasco with my peaches when I wanted to make Peach Tea Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting also from Paula Dean?

The second goal: Improve my food photography.

Living in Michigan, I've gotten into heated debates about the southernness of Florida. I'll claim that Florida isn't south...culturally. Whoever I'm talking to will shake their head in awe at my idiocy and say that of course Florida is south...geographically. We flip flop until everyone is bored and move on to other topics.

I stay firm in my claim that Florida, while geographically southern, is a unique state that doesn't quite fit the typical definition of the south. This can be attributed to the fact that people from all states move to Florida to escape the harsh winters, to retire, or just to get away. Few of my friends were born and raised in the Sunshine State. Most, like me, moved here at some point during their childhood.

Florida is sort of backwards in a way as the most typically "southern" characteristics are found mostly in the northern part of the state. While visiting a friend at school in Tallahassee, I overheard more "y'all's" and southern accents that I ever have in Central Florida. The most geographically southern points, Miami and Key West, are home to a night life of incredible quality and an abundance of New Yorkers and New Englanders who migrated south for the winter/rest of their lives. The nice part about living in Central Florida, is that while the entire area isn't southern, I can always find elements of the south when I want to.

The things I like the most about the south?

  • Sweet Tea — it's so sweet and refreshing and no place makes it as good as my number two favorite southern thing:
  • Chick-Fil-A — for four years, I've requested a stop at the Chick-Fil-A in the airport almost every time I returned home. There's no Chick-Fil-A in Michigan and it's a serious problem. I knew some kids from Atlanta who took a road trip into Ohio once just to get their hands on a chicken sandwich and some waffle fries — a big deal for you see, Michiganders DO NOT like Ohio. (Ohio State and Michigan are pretty serious rivals)
  • Paula Dean — her show is the first Food Network show I started watching back in high school before I became a Food Network junkie. Now it's my go-to channel.

When I found Paula Dean's recipe for Peach Cobbler, I knew I could trust it to be delicious — it's Paula Dean! I altered it only slightly because the high quantities of sugar and butter in every dish Paula Dean features scares me a little bit, and because I wanted to cut the number of servings from 10 to 4. 

Peach Cobbler (Recipe adapted from Paula Dean's recipe on Food Network)
Makes 4-6 servings
  • 1 1/2 cups peaches, peeled and sliced (about 2 peaches)
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Cinnamon (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a medium saucepan, combine peaches, 1/4 cup sugar, and water
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes before setting aside to cool
  • Put butter in an 8" x 8" baking dish and place it in the oven until the butter melts, and then rub butter up edges of the dish with a spatula
  • In a medium bowl, whisk flour, milk, and remaining sugar (1/4 cup) slowly so it doesn't clump
  • Pour mixture into pan over butter and DON'T stir
  • Spoon peaches over the mixture and then gently pour in the syrup
  • Sprinkle with some cinnamon if you'd like and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes
NOTE: The batter will rise over the peaches in the oven like magic. I tried to catch this in action, but was too slow. If your oven has a light so you can see in without opening the oven, try and watch this happen. It will occur within the first 10 minutes of baking!

I highly recommend serving this dish warm with a side of vanilla ice cream! 

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