Flipping through Nigel Slater’s Ripe is a regular pastime of mine when any new fruit hits the market—especially during summertime, when the varieties seem infinite. It’s not that I’m at a loss of what to do. On the contrary, I’m very happy eating peaches out of hand over the sink, believe a fig is best alongside some crumbled goat cheese drizzled with honey and nothing more, prefer melons as salad and never, ever tire of adorning bowls of yogurt with whatever pretty fruit I just carried carefully home from the market. There are endless things to do with summer fruit, not the least of which is just eating it, day after day, moving from one variety to another and back again. I’ve never understood those recipes that begin with a proclamation that the author has arrived, a long-awaited savior, to help me figure out what on earth to do with that huge haul of cherries or blueberries I just brought home. Who do they think I am? What’s the average income of Bon Appétit readers, anyway? I certainly wish this sort of thing was a huge problem for me, but I can assure you it is not, and I highly doubt I’m alone.
So no, I’m not bored or confused by perfect summer fruit. Rather, it’s that as much as I enjoy it as is, I also adore how it can be transformed into crisps and crumbles and cobblers and cakes and pies and so much more. Nigel Slater is about the best inspiration one can get on this front, offering plenty of charming little observations about his garden alongside recipes that are perfect in their simplicity and always highlight the fruit itself—exactly what’s required on a beautiful summer day when the park beckons as fervently as the fresh peaches on your counter.
And so there I was, paging through the peach chapter while eating my breakfast one mid-July morning, when I saw the words “scone crust” and came to a full stop. I’m in. I love a good scone, and the idea of putting several atop a slumping mass of baked fruit sounded like the sort of thing that would be right up my alley. In case this is your thing, too, and you’re willing to spare a few pieces of fruit in the interest of dessert, I offer it here.
I should note that this cobbler is just barely sweet, which I like very much, and which makes it an ideal and even virtuous breakfast when adorned with a dollop of yogurt. However, if you’re looking for something more indulgent, add a scoop of ice cream, or an extra tablespoon or two of sugar along the way. Or, frankly, feel free to move along, as there are plenty of fish in the sea, as they say, and summer’s fruit is fleeting!
Adapted from Nigel Slater’s Ripe
This recipe is really more of a loose formula—keep that in mind as you go. Swap in other fruit, or play around with the flours. Add more sugar if you like. Serve with vanilla ice cream, plain yogurt or mascarpone.
Enough for about 6
FOR THE CRUST
1 1/4 cups (150 g) all-purpose flour, or 100 g all-purpose flour + 50 g rye flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cane sugar
5 tablespoons (80 g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup sour cream
FOR THE FILLING
4 medium or 5 small peaches
A handful of blueberries
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon cane sugar, plus additional
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a food processor, combine the flour(s), baking powder, sugar, butter and a big pinch of salt. Blitz briefly, until the mixture resembles soft breadcrumbs. Tip into a bowl.
Slice the peaches, removing the pits and dropping the fruit (and any juices) into an ovenproof dish (a 9-inch pie plate will work well). Add the blueberries, lemon juice, sugar and flour. Toss to combine.
Mix the sour cream into the crumb mixture to make a soft dough. Break off walnut-sized pieces, flatten them slightly and set them on top of the fruit. Dust the rounds generously with sugar. Bake the cobbler for 25 minutes, until the scone topping is golden and the fruit is bubbling.