The Recipe: Italian Peach Cobbler
Or when food becomes therapy.
I’m not into sweets/desserts, but I love making them for others.
Baking is an art — one that requires precise measurements and a whole lot of patience. It’s a process that asks the baker to slow down, think of nothing else, and focus on the task at hand. This is why it remains my go-to activity when I’m stressed, confused, or have to process difficult emotions.
You just have to get in there, and get it over with.
When I arrived back in Torino last week, I was wrecked physically and mentally. The trip to the US was restorative and challenging, and frankly, since getting home I’ve wanted nothing more than to sleep, eat and repeat. However, life has always got plans and I find myself struggling to balance newfound freedom with brand new professional responsibilities.
This girl is working as a full-time writer for the first time in almost 10 years. I no longer “juggle” several projects or commitments at the same time, and I have to say there’s a strangeness to knowing that your life is entirely…stable.
Not gonna lie, I often wake up in the middle of the night thinking I should be responding to an email, only to realize that all my meetings have been scheduled two weeks in advance and my editors have already signed every contract needed, and all I have to do is…write.
I’m embarking on a new adventure in Europe that will see this newsletter move in an interesting new direction with the support of a great group of creatives, and I’ve also got a few cool assignments that go to print in a month or two for some french magazines.
Europeans, I find, are much more liberal than I thought — some of the things I’m being asked to write about scare me (let’s be real, anything very left or very right scares me and now I feel like I understand the basis of Emannuel Macron’s original campaign).
In the last few days, some of you have been emailing me and asking me to write about specific topics or share my opinion on some current events. I love how collaborative An American Girl In Italy is becoming and I really appreciate your engagement. A lot of you have also asked to keep the recipes coming and I’m excited to share with you all the things that take place in my kitchen.
I guess we can say that on a professional note, I’m doing better than I ever have in my career as a writer. On a personal note, I’m ok. Healthier, a tad wiser though still completely silly. These days, it appears that life’s a peach —sweetness with a tad of tang. In the final weeks of summer, one simply wonders where the year went. Could we have anticipated how difficult it would be to rollout vaccinations or the wildfires that are consuming our planet, or the Chief Executives that have become the new monarchs?
It’s like we’re living in the Twilight zone, folks.
*btw, that Economist piece is a must-read and must-discussion for your next dinner*
Making peach cobbler always makes me feel like I’m being teleported back to Minnesota. Those lazy summers spent grilling, sitting on the front porch with a beer and friends, hardly worried about tomorrow. It’s a thoroughly engaging dish that requires a base of work (read = a good dough) and is topped off with fresh peaches. To give it an Italian twist, I’ve adapted my tried-and-true recipe to include Panna (Italian version of heavy cream) and served with a crema flavored gelato.
If you ever mess up in life, or just feel like you’re not being your best self, I encourage you to make a peach cobbler, sit on a terrace and drown your melanchonia in the sweetness of this dessert. Food, my friends, is the cheapest therapist on the market.
As always, adapt the recipe below as you see fit, enjoy the corresponding playlist here, and let me know how the process went.
1 lemon (halved)
1 ½ stick of butter
1 ½ cup of Panna della Centrale (Italian heavy cream)
3 cups of all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
½ cup of sugar
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
2 scoops of gelato (crema flavor)
Step 1: Preheat the oven at 400F or 200C. In a large bowl, mix the 3 cups of flour, ¼ cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt. Slice the butter into cubes (about a half-inch each) and throw them into the dry mixture, using your hands to squeeze and smash them with everything else.
Step 2: Carefully stir in the Panna, mixing all the ingredients with a wooden spoon until a rough dough is formed. It might be a little soggy, but don’t worry — it will all come together in the end. Add a pinch of flour to the bowl and switch from using the wooden spoon to using your hand. Knead and form the dough as you wish, about 10 minutes.
Step 3: Lightly flour a clean working surface, and then transfer the dough. Continue to knead for about 5-6 minutes, flouring when needed until you have a beautiful mass to work with. Pat the dough down into a thick square shape, about 8x8. Using a floured knife, cut the dough into the preferred quarters — essentially, the biscuits that you’d like to have (I usually do about 10). Carefully set them on a floured plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Step 4: Slice the peaches into small wedges, about an inch, and place them in a large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of flour, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and ¼ cup of sugar. Mix until all peaches are coated well, then add the juice of the halved lemons (catching seeds where needed).
Step 5: Place coated peach mixture in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan, and spread out evenly so that there are no overlaps. Arrange the biscuits on top of the peach mixture, giving room between each as they will enlarge during the baking process. Brush some Panna on top of each, and drizzle with brown sugar. Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes, checking to make sure that dough is cooked through (if needed, an extra 5-6 minutes). When finished, take the cobbler out of the oven and let stand for 15 minutes (or until the desired temperature). Serve each biscuit with an ample serving of the cooked peaches, alongside one to two scoops of crema flavored gelato. Drizzle some Panna on top and enjoy!
This dish is also GREAT the very next day with a cup of coffee for breakfast.
Questions while cooking, DM me @erakit_