Affectionately known as the Peach State, Georgia originally designed this day, the National Peach Cobbler Day (April 13th), as a means to sell more canned peaches during the 1950s. What a wonderful excuse to promote this dessert revered in the Deep South taste.
Traditionally created by America’s early Dutch and English settlers and consumed by many a trailblazer, it was adapted from a dessert known as Suet pudding. Yes, the same suet made from beef and lamb kidney fat you give to woodpeckers and chickadees… The New World offered limited ingredients, which were ‘cobbled’ together over the fire and eventually became a staple in North American households during the 1900s.
This deep-dish dessert is typically oven-baked in a cast-iron skillet, though many still prepare them over backyard grills and open fires. Fruit, either fresh or preserved, is prepared with a dollop of biscuit-like topping and often accompanied by a big scoop or two of good old fashioned vanilla ice cream. Cobblers differ from crumbles in that they are more fluffy and biscuit-like. The cobbler’s more textured cousins, crisps and crumbles are inspired by the streusels native to Central Europe. These are more textured with toppings first rubbed or pinched between the fingers rather than dropped in dumpling forms.
Returning to cobblers, though. While they’re normally available in single fruit variety, if you search hard enough, you may find rare savoury options like the tomato cobbler, which is said to echo the Southern tomato pie. To add to the mix, the Brits also offer savoury versions of the cobblers with casserole fillings of delicious beef and lamb.
Interestingly, during WWII the UK Minister of Food was employed to oversee the rationing of food items and actually advocated for desserts like cobblers and crumbles as they were filling options, which required less butter than alternative pastries. There is no doubt they would have approved of National Peach Cobbler Day, we are sure.
Other variations of this sweet dish include bread-pudding-like Bettys, grunts, pandowdies, and slumps, as well as buckles and sonkers. But what are you waiting for? Grab a spoon and dive headfirst into a fresh peach cobbler before they’re all gone.