Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Peaches and Blackberries

A taste combo of summer that has been a favorite since I was a child is the duo of peaches and blackberries. Ripe juicy peaches have a sweetness and tang that marries well with the strongly berry taste of blackberries. When heated, like in a cobbler or pie, the berries burst, releasing their juices, which color the peaches with a magenta tinge. The peaches soften with heat and their flavor mellows, too. You can make this with either white or yellow peaches or with white or yellow nectarines.

One of my summer memories includes peaches. After going to a U-Pick orchard and bringing home bushels of ripe peaches right off the trees, the whole family would prepare them, either by canning (when I was younger) or by freezing (when I was older and we had bought a stand along freezer). A huge pot of boiling water was used to blanch the fruit so that the skins would slip right off. My job was to take the still hot peach, slip off the skin, and slice it with the fruit going into a bowl of acidulated water and the pits going in the trash. Later my Mom and Dad would mix the sliced fruit with sugar and pectin for jam or with a sugar mixture for canning or freezing or for pie filling. I helped ladle the fruit into the canning jars or freezer containers.

The same jobs I helped with were also done by my sisters and brothers once they were old enough to work with hot fruit. A whiff of hot peaches brings back a visual of me sitting at the newspaper covered table with peach juice dripping down my arms. Remembering that it was also usually humid and 90+ degrees, you might understand that this isn't exactly a treasured memory, even though I did enjoy those peaches later in the year.

Peach and blackberry cobbler is an old fashioned favorite dessert. Over the weekend I visited Natasha and took along a cobbler to share after lunch. Because I was tired (turns out I have a strong allergic/asthmatic reaction to this time of year in our area ;) I used packaged Bisquick to make the cobbler. I added a little sugar and some ground cardamom and nutmeg to the biscuit batter and sprinkled almonds on the top. It looked wonderful and tasted even better. Soft, warm, sweet peaches and fresh off the brambles (right before being baked) blackberries were surrounded by the cobbler mixture, which soaked up their juices. We topped dishes of the cobbler with a froth of whipped cream (but I had left my camera at home, so no photos) which finished them off nicely.

As you can see by the date of the post, it has taken a while to finish this. Today is Thurs, Aug. 20. Have had a cough for a couple of weeks so went to see the doctor Monday afternoon. Turns out I have a seasonal allergy that is causing the cough, some wheezing, and fatigue. Fortunately the fog returned the next day and each evening since, so a lot of the pollens that were giving me trouble at least get taken out of the air at night. I'm feeling much more myself...less tired and not as cranky, either. Maybe I'll get this post finished before it is September :)

Peach and Blackberry Cobbler
serves 6-8

8-9 ripe peaches or nectarines, peeled, pitted and sliced
1 pint blackberries, washed and drained or patted dry
2 cups Bisquick (I used the low fat version)
1 cup low fat milk ( or more if needed...the batter should pour)
1 -2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9 inch cake pan or use a cast iron skillet.

In a large bowl, combine the peaches slices and the blackberries. Pour them into the prepared pan.

In a mixing bowl stir together the Bisquick and milk. Add the sugar and spices and mix just until combines. Batter should be thin enough to just pour.

Pour the batter over the fruit. Spread to cover the fruit.

Optional: Sprinkle top with a tablespoon or two of sliced almonds.

Bake in preheated oven 20 - 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Serve warm, with ice cream, or whipped cream or pour some cream over.


  1. Ooh, no matter how I whine about the constant unseasonable rain, the dry wheezing is one thing I don't miss about the end-of-summer dog days. Thank God for the return of the fog!

    I miss U-Picks. I think there must be some within the country -- obviously -- but living in the second largest UK city means that we'd have to go a ways to find one, and it's just hard to get out to farms and such. Those berries look amazing, and there's nothing like a sun-hot peach, is there?

    And yeah, those prep afternoons, with juice stinging your cut fingers are certainly nothing for the Precious Moments category, but yeah, the labor paid off later.

  2. Anonymous2:26 AM

    It was so delicious! Wonderful ripe fruit and not too sweet. We ate the leftovers warm with vanilla bean ice cream. Yum!

    We're so glad you came, and the cobbler was icing on the cake. =)

    Love and thanks,

  3. I am so jealous with you... I am waiting patiently for the summer fruits to arrive to make such beautiful cobler!

  4. Wow, that looks gorgeous. My daughter's new house has blackberry brambles in the back yard so now I have a source. Yum!

  5. Yummy cobbler. :)
    I haven't made one yet, so I think I need to put this on the to-do list.