So what’s the deal with nectarines? Are they a peach? Are they a peach and a plum? Well, without getting too scientific and embarrassing myself, they are basically a peach… without the fuzzy skin. Same genetic family, just without that gene that makes a peach skin fuzzy and a nectarine skin smooth. I’m sure there are other minor genetic differences, but that’s all I got.
What I do know is that nectarines are a wonderful summertime fruit. They tend to be a bit smaller than peaches, sometimes the fruit is a little more “red”, and a tad bit sweeter than peaches. I love nectarines, and love combining them with peaches to make a delicious cobbler.
For The Crust: Some people like to switch up their cobbler crust, making it a sweeter shortcrust or even biscuit texture. That’s fine. For me, I prefer the standard pastry or pie dough crust I normally use in pies. One, because I know the recipe like the back of my hand and it is easy to recall… a good last minute trait of being a personal chef. Two, I prefer the texture and flavor of standard pastry crust rather than the sweeter shortcrust as in some cobbler recipes. You do what you like… this is how my cobbler rolls.
2 cups All Purpose flour
8 tablespoons (1 stick) frozen unsalted butter, cubed
5 tablespoons frozen “butter flavored” shortening, cubed
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
5 tablespoons ice water
In a food processor combine the flour and salt, then give it a pulse to combine. Add in the frozen cubed butter and shortening (I always keep a stick or two of butter in the freezer along with my shortening. The trick with good pie pastry is keeping everything cold.). Pulse the butter and shortening along wth flour enough times that it eventually resembles coarse bread crumbs. With the food processor running, add in the five tablespoons of ice water, and let it process until the dough comes together into a ball. Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface, and form into a smooth ball. Flatten the ball into a round flat shape, cover in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, until ready to roll out.
For The Filling: Find the ripest, but not too ripe, peach and nectarines available. Smell them… if they smell like a perfect peach, then they are ready. Also, peel your peaches and nectarines with e vegetable peeler. Yes, you can do the blanch and shock method for peeling, but I have had great experiences using my trusty vegetable peeler. If you choose to leave the skin on, which is your privilege, just know when baked the skin will slide off the sliced fruit. The texture of cooked fruit and “slime” peach skin bugs me… so I choose to peel the fruit first.
3 cups sliced (in 1/8’s or 1/16’s) and peeled fresh peaches
2 cups sliced and peeled fresh nectarines
1 heaping cup of sugar
1 teaspoon In The Kitchen with Scotty “More Than Pumpkin Pie Spice” or a combination of ground cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
3 rounded tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Egg wash (1 egg, splash of water, beaten)
turbinado sugar to sprinkle
- Peel and halve your fruit, removing the pits. Save the pits for “Peach Pit Syrup” if you like or discard. I prefer larger sections of fruit in cobbler, so cut the fruit into 1/8th or 1/16th wedges depending on the size of your peaches and nectarines. Place the cut fruit into a nonmetal mixing bowl, and add the heaping cup of sugar and the More Than Pumpkin Pie Spice. Toss the sugar, spice, and cut fruit, together to coat evenly and set aside. The idea is to extract all the natural fruit juices, and you will see this happening as you’re rolling out your dough. Let the fruit rest about 20 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. I typically use a 9.5”x 8” stoneware baking dish for my cobbler.. basically short and deep. You may do the same or use a small square pyrex dish, or even a deep dish pie plate. Butter the inside well with 2 tablespoons of butter. Remove your pastry from the refrigerator and lay it out onto a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out large enough that it will cover the bottom, the sides, and still have plenty of overhang outside of your cobbler dish. Another beauty about cobbler is that it does not have to be perfect… imperfect shapes and coverings in cobbler are some of the prettiest.
- Roll the pastry up onto your rolling pin, then unroll into your cobbler dish. Allow for the overhang, and loosely press the dough into the sides, corners, and bottom of your dish.
- Once the peaches and nectarines are nice and soupy in the mixing bowl, fold in the lemon juice, and vanilla. Add in the rounded tablespoons of cornstarch. “Rounded” just means that I don't perfectly level off the cornstarch… I scoop, give it a little shake in the tablespoon, and then add. Fold in the three rounded tablespoons of cornstarch making sure all of it is mixed in. NO CLUMPS of white cornstarch, just a nice syrupy slurry to coat your fruit.
- Pour the fruit into your pastry lined dish, and shake gently to even out. Lift up the overlapped pastry sides and fold over the top creating a partial top crust. Brush the top crust lightly with the egg wash, then sprinkle generously with the crunchy turbinado sugar.
- Place the cobbler in the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, just enough to set the crust. Lower the oven to 350 degrees and bake an additional 45-50 minutes, or until the cobbler is “golden bubbly”.
- Remove from the oven and let it rest before cutting. Serve your cobbler warm with homemade ice cream or fresh whipped cream. Enjoy!