The day before we left for Minneapolis, my mom brought me a bag of peaches from her tree. I wish I could say this peach cobbler with brown butter chestnut biscuits was made from her peaches, but I'd be lying. I thought about saying it anyway - how would you ever know? - but then I remembered something: I'm a terrible liar.
"Organic peaches," she said as I inspected the bag of bruised, roughed-up peaches, hoping the qualification would make-up for their ho-hum appearance. It did. A bag of home-grown peaches pleading with me to do something - anything - with them, and an empty suitcase waiting to be packed. So I asked my mom to chop them up and toss them in the freezer.
I came in a few minutes later to find her painstakingly peeling each (extra ripe and smushy) peach with a paring knife and heaps of determination. Turns out my mom hates peach fuzz - she says it feels like she's eating cotton balls. In fact, she'd rather eat the cotton balls. Now I've got a huge tupperware full of peeled, sliced peaches in my freezer to snack on like popsicles all summer long.
A tupperware that I accidentally defrosted last week for dinner when I meant to pull out my tomato sauce with stewed zucchini (made from my mom's tomatoes! This time it's not a lie.). We got take-out that night, but not before I snagged a few peaches. Note to self: organize freezer.
One of the only dishes I'll gladly break the "don't turn the oven on in the summer" rule for is this gluten-free peach cobbler. Unlike some fruit that turns jammy when cooked, stone fruit - and peaches in particular - get sweeter and more luscious with a little heat. If you're not so lucky to get cream of the crop peaches, a few minutes on the stove with a sprinkle of sugar can instantly rehabilitate dull-tasting peaches.
These brown butter chestnut biscuits are the real cat's meow of this recipe though. Since traditional buttermilk drop biscuits use cold butter cut into the flour to create flakiness, I kept that same method by chilling the browned butter until firm again. The brown butter adds depth and a seductive nuttiness to the biscuits that weds beautifully with the earthy chestnut flour. Contrasting the warm peaches with a cozy wintry layer like brown butter chestnut biscuits brings out the bright peach notes with a rustic flair.
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- 2½ lbs fresh peaches, sliced into eighths (4-5 peaches)
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
Brown Butter Chestnut Biscuits
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons chestnut flour
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten-free oat flour* (38g)
- 2 tablespoons sweet rice flour (different from "white rice flour" or "brown rice flour")
- 2 tablespoon tapioca starch
- ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3½ tablespoons unsalted butter**
- ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons cold buttermilk
- First, brown the butter: In a small pan, heat the butter. After the butter melts and foams, it will begin to turn golden brown with a nutty aroma. Stir frequently, watching carefully until it just browns. Pour the browned butter with any crispy bits into a parchment-lined bowl and refrigerate until solid, at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Toss the peaches with tapioca starch and brown sugar in a medium skillet. Heat on the stove, stirring until just warm and beginning to bubble, 3-5 minutes. If using a cast iron skillet, you can bake it right in the skillet, otherwise, transfer it to an 9-inch round or 9x9-inch square baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the chestnut flour, oat flour, sweet rice flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt.
- When the butter is chilled, cut it into ¼-inch pieces, add it to the flour and, working quickly, use your hands or a pastry knife to combine until the largest pieces of butter are no bigger than a pea.
- Add the buttermilk and stir with a fork to completely combine.
- Divide the biscuit dough into six pieces. Slightly flatten them into round disks and plop them on top of warm peaches.
- Bake for 20-24 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown on top, kissed with a few dark spots.
- Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
*I grind my own oat flour by pulsing gluten-free oats in the blender or food processor until fine, then sifting out any large pieces.
**If you don't have time to chill the brown butter, you can skip the brown butter step and just use regular butter - the biscuits will still be tasty! If not browning the butter, use only 3 tablespoons of butter!