09 May 2009

Danie & The Frozen Peach(es)

If desperate times call for desperate measures, then exciting ventures call for exciting treats. Jesse and I were invited to have dinner with Mariana and Ajit at their apartment. We're just about neighbors, and even though Mariana has been inviting us for months, we finally agreed on a day in May. Since she was making dinner, I volunteered to make dessert. I like desserts, and I like making them. I decided to make peach cobbler -- Mostly because (while discussing dessert) we happened upon Guy Fieri make hs Cin-ful Peach Cobbler on The Food Network. I remembered how much I enjoyed it when I had it at Tex Wasabi's when Chris was visiting and decided to do my best to replicate it.

The recipe isn't difficult, but there are a lot of ingredients. I printed it and casually made sure I had everything I needed, but kept forgetting peaches. The recipe (I thought) called for 3lbs of peaches, so I bought three, 1lb bags of them. But when the time came, and I really looked at the recipe, I needed 10 cups of peaches, which makes three pounds once prepared. The three pounds I had only amounted to six cups. So right away I had to make some changes.

I decided to to halve the whole thing. It works for pancake batter, so why not for peach cobbler? I used five cups of peaches, switched to a smaller pan and started my preheating. Unfortunately for me, most of the measurements were in 1/4 cup increments. It's not easy to halve quarters - unless I am the only person to consistently not buy a 1/8 measuring cup. I had to judge by sight and I think I did a good job. I followed the rest of the instructions properly, combining the sugars, flour, nutmeg and cinnamon, then adding it to the peaches.

I added lemon juice and a cornstarch surry (cornstarch & water) and the filling was done. All that was left was to halve the topping. I once again did my best "by sight halving" for the cranberries, slivered almonds, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.

I then added oats, brown sugar, white sugar, and flour. The final steps were to add butter, mix by hand, and crumble the mix onto the filling. I did my mixing, and realized something was very wrong.

My topic was not a "crumble." It was more like a paste. It was not appetizing and even though I had never made cobbler before, I knew it wasn't right. I went back over the recipe and found the error. I had halved everything except the butter. I don't know why I was thinking for the final part of my creation, but I clearly wasn't. Instead of starting over, I decided to double my halved recipe. That meant a lot more time measuring by sight and making sure things weren't doubled more than once. That last part was the hardest of the whole ordeal.

The reworked crumble was a lot better. Once I added it to the filling, I noticed cranberries and almonds made it look a lot more appealing. I baked and re-baked according to the recipe and (just as predicted) the cobbler bubbled when it was done. I think this was the most complex dessert I made and I really enjoyed the process. I would have liked it more if I didn't have to halve, then double some parts. But even that was a lesson; I either need a wider variety of measuring cups or more peaches.

I took the extra topping and baked it as cookies. There was nothing to hold them together, so it was more like a clumped cereal than a cookie. Still, it was delicious and gave me a lot of hope for the cobbler.

The cobbler was delicious. It was rich and flavorful, rather than just sweet. I think I either needed more lemon juice or less of the syrup that came with the peaches. The peaches were soggier than I wanted and I think there was too much moisture surrounding them. I'm pleased with it, and Mariana and Ajit were too. Success.