Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Peach and Blackberry Shortbread Cobbler

Last summer, my bike commute ran past a veritable wall of blackberry bushes. 
Over the course of two months, I picked around 8 litres of blackberries. I did make a couple of pies over the summer and fall, but I froze most of the berries for the winter. 

Which is now. Today, I made this:

Peach and Blackberry Cobbler with Spiced Hazelnut-Pistachio Shortbread. At what point are you supposed to stop naming ingredients in the title of a recipe? Anyway. 

I make this a lot, because I'm not a fan of the more biscuit-like toppings on traditional cobblers. It's based on this recipe from Fine Cooking. 

I also froze just-on-the-edge-of-rotting peaches. Blanched, peeled, and sliced before freezing so I could throw them right into a colander with the blackberries, like this:

I'd say there's five cups of frozen fruit in there, but it sinks down to three with all the moisture it loses during maceration and thawing. 

I want the fruit filling completely thawed before it goes in the oven, but I like mixing the sugar/spices in while the individual bits of fruit are still frozen, so everything can get evenly distributed and I don't mash the fruit to a pulp. Putting the mix in a strainer collects all the juice that drips out, which I also use. But that's for later. 

A quarter-cup of sugar, tablespoon of lemon zest, a cut-up vanilla bean, and a teaspoon of kosher salt go into the frozen filling. 

Mixed up!

Now the topping. Starting here with a half-cup each of butter and brown sugar in the pot.

I do not have an electric mixer of any kind. I could get one, but then I think I'd go bankrupt from making too many desserts, so it's best to keep it the way it is. 

Mixing by hand is not fun, though. That "light and fluffy" stage of creaming butter and sugar together rarely happens in my house. 

This is as good as it gets. 

With the addition of three egg yolks...

...And also flour, finely ground toasted hazelnuts and pistachios, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.

Fully mixed in:

What is now essentially cookie dough gets dumped onto plastic wrap (or in my case a large ziplock because I don't have any). 

Trying to just touch the plastic, roll the dough into a log. Kinda like sushi? After rolling up, tie the ends and throw it in the freezer for two hours.

This is what the filling looks like after thawing. 

The red liquid on the right is the blackberry and peach juice, plus a bit of the sugar, lemon, and salt in the filling, which drained out as everything came up to room temperature. I boil this down into syrup, which you can put on top of ice cream on top of the cobbler. Or just eat with a spoon, whatever. 

After not-quite-two-hours because I am very impatient, here's what the cookie-log looks like after slicing, about a half-inch per slice.

These get placed on top of the peaches and blackberries...

...And baked for 30ish minutes at 375 until the cookies display cracks on top and start to brown. 
Summer in the middle of winter, ta-daaaaaaaaaaaa.

Okay, so winter here isn't that bad, but still. 

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