When it comes to peaches, I am a cobbler girl all the way. Sure, I like peach pie, and I would never turn down a crumble or crisp. I also love peaches sliced over my morning yogurt, eaten straight out of hand, baked into bar cookies with a shortbread crust or turned into preserves and spread on hot biscuits. But, in my book, nothing beats peach cobbler. The thing about cobbler is that there's no one definition for it. We Southerners can get pretty passionate about cobbler, but even in the same general region (or, for that matter, even in the same family) two people can have vastly different ideas of just what constitutes this homey dessert. My dad is a big fan of cobbler made with pie crust, similar to a deep-dish pie, with the possible addition of little scraps of dough tucked into the filling, so that they will bake up like almost dumplings. Meanwhile, I was always adamant that the best cobblers were topped not with pie dough, but with barely-sweet buttermilk biscuits. This summer my allegiance shifted. I started coming across cobbler recipes — referred to as "shiny top" or "boiling water" cobbler — that called for smothering the fruit in a thin layer of cake batter, sprinkling the batter with cornstarch and then dousing the whole thing with boiling water. I'd had cake batter cobblers before, but the cornstarch and water thing was new to me and intriguing enough to try, even though I had long thought I had this cobbler thing cracked. The result was sublime. The batter bakes up into a tender topping that sits on top of the juicy fruit base rather than subsuming it and the boiling water trick at the end somehow creates a golden and slightly crisp crust. It is good enough for company, easy enough that my 2-year-old can help put it together and the sort of thing I would honestly be happy to eat every day.
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