Peach Cobbler with Lemon-Ginger Scone Topping
When I was baking for the farmers market, I developed a recipe for lemon-ginger scones. They were a big hit. Peaches and ginger go well together, so why not add a little zing to an ordinary cobbler by swapping these scones for the usual biscuit topping? You can find candied or crystallized ginger (either will work) at stores like Trader Joe's or in the bulk foods aisle of the supermarket.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
For the filling:
8 cups sliced peaches, about 8 medium peaches
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (you will also use the zest)
Wash the lemon and remove the zest with a fine grater or Microplane zester. Reserve the grated zest to use in the scone topping. Squeeze the juice from the lemon. Peel the peaches and slice about ½ inch thick. In a large saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and spices. Add the sliced peaches and lemon juice, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute. Transfer filling to an ungreased 9 x 13 baking dish and set aside while you prepare the topping.
For the scone topping:
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
grated zest of 1 lemon (reserved above)
1 ½ sticks (6 oz.) unsalted butter, very cold
2 large eggs, beaten
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup diced candied or crystallized ginger (I snip it with kitchen shears)
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Cut the cold butter into chunks, add to the flour and cut in with a pastry blender or two knives until it resembles very coarse crumbs. Add the beaten eggs and the cream to the flour mixture and stir gently, just until combined. Fold in the diced ginger pieces.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and, with floured hands, knead quickly 4 or 5 times. Pat into a smooth rectangle about ¾ to 1-inch thick. Cut into into 8 squares and arrange on top of the hot filling. If desired, brush the tops of the scones with additional cream. (Alternatively, you could skip the kneading and just drop the dough all over the warm peach mixture using two spoons.) Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until filling is bubbling and scones are golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.
To bake the scones by themselves, follow the directions above, but pat the dough into a circle and cut into 8 wedges. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 15 to 18 minutes.
Do ahead tip: The scone dough can be cut into shapes and frozen on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. When frozen solid, package in plastic bags. No need to thaw, just increase baking time by about 5 minutes.