A Vegan Peach Cobbler, Plus Fun Fruit Cobbler Fillings

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Photo by Stephen Johnson

This vegan, whole-grain and refined-sugar-free cobbler will change your mind about healthy desserts for good. When served warm from the oven, the succulent peaches and the sweet cinnamon-kissed top will leave your guests clamoring for more.

It’s the light and airy biscuit topping that sets a cobbler apart from a crisp, and the key ingredient in a traditional cobbler is buttermilk. Buttermilk is a soured or curdled milk made by “clabbering” (naturally curdling or souring) whole milk. The acidic qualities of buttermilk react to baking soda to create pockets of air in the topping, resulting in a biscuit-like consistency.

To make the topping vegan, I “clabbered” almond milk with lemon juice and it thickened to the consistency of buttermilk. Swap in coconut oil in place of butter, which results in such a delectable texture and flavor, you won’t even know it’s dairy-free.

Once you’ve mastered the topping, try these tips for creating endlessly tasty and interesting fruit cobblers to suit every mood.

Change up the fruits

In the summer months, swap out peaches for other stone fruits, like apricots, plums or nectarines. In the fall and winter, try pears or stewed apples. Stirring in a cup of berries adds a great punch of color and flavor to any fruit filling. When berries are at their peak, try replacing the fruit with 6 cups fresh berries.

Add herbs, spices and citrus zest

Mix in 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or thyme to the fruit filling. Stir in 1 teaspoon dried spices, like ground ginger or cardamom, for an exotic twist. A pinch of grated nutmeg, ground clove or allspice along with cinnamon will give a fragrant lift to any fruit filling. The zest of an orange or lemon instantly adds a layer of brightness to fruit or berry fillings. My favorite combos? Peach-rosemary, plum-ginger-thyme, strawberry-cardamom, apricot-lemon-blueberry and nectarine-raspberry-orange.

Lemon Zest

Vegan Peach Cobbler

When you’re using ripe, succulent fruits, this cobbler needs to bake for only 20 to 25 minutes. If your fruit is not perfectly ripe, I suggest covering the cobbler and baking it until the fruit is easily pierced with a knife, about 10 to 15 minutes, then remove the cover and bake until the topping is beginning to brown around the edges. A scoop of vegan ice cream will make this the perfect summer dessert.

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:

Filling

7 (2 3/4 pounds) large ripe peaches, pitted and sliced into 1/3-inch pieces

2 tablespoons maple syrup

4 teaspoons arrowroot powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Topping

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or soy milk

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 1/2 cups whole spelt flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup melted extra virgin coconut oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:

Make the filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add all filling ingredients to a large bowl and mix thoroughly to combine. Transfer to an 8-by-11-inch baking dish and spread out in an even layer.

Make the topping: Combine almond milk and lemon juice and set aside to clabber. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon into a medium bowl. Add coconut sugar and salt, and whisk to combine.

Drizzle in melted coconut oil and use your hands to work into the flour until all the flour is moistened. Add clabbered almond milk and maple syrup and stir until just incorporated. Crumble over the peach filling and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until fruit is bubbling and topping is browning around the edges.

Remove from oven and set aside for 10 minutes before serving.

Calories: 325; Total Fat: 9 grams; Saturated Fat: 6 grams; Protein: 8 grams; Total carbohydrates: 48 grams; Sugar: 36 grams; Fiber: 9 grams; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Sodium: 280 milligrams

Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer based in New York City. She is the author of the award winning cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen. See more of Amy’s recipes at amychaplin.com.

Photo: Stephen Johnson