We’re back! So far, married life has mostly consisted of (a) jet lag, (b) coffee, and (c) delivery pizza. Our first morning back we woke up at 3 AM, B2 played video games in our brightly-lit living room against a pitch-black window and it felt like a super fun sleepover all-nighter, and then we spent the more mundane mornings after that consuming about sixteen cups of coffee and a pound of cheesy bread (leftover from delivery pizza, of course) for breakfast because post-wedding diet. On Monday I went back to work and discovered that nothing much had changed in my three weeks away, except that my office door now sticks in the door jamb and appears as reluctant to let me in as I am to enter. Mysteriously expanding doors aside, it’s not like we really expected anything to change — but somehow things do feel just the slightest bit different now that we’re married. In the best way. (Maybe it’s the carbs.)
With the exception of some rain here and there (and an intensely muggy morning today), it seems like New York has welcomed us back with the very best parts of a Northeast summer. Dry, gentle sunshine with just enough heat to be present but none of the humidity that I dread, and all the summer produce I could possibly imagine in piles at the farmers’ market — rows of corn, tangles of garlic scapes, peaches in the prettiest shades of pink, crimson tomatoes.
I feel like this cobbler perfectly encapsulates that kind of summer — enough syrupy sweetness to add the hint of indulgent languor that the season demands, but still light and fresh from the playful combination of two of my favorite fruits. Lychees always remind me of sticky-hot afternoons in a creaky Shanghai townhouse with my great-grandmother, and pure, delicate white nectarines are the highlight of my summer every year. It turns out that the rich perfume from the lychees perfectly emphasizes the floral notes in white peaches, and the sweet, cake-like cobbler on top brings it all together in a South-meets-East way that was even better than I imagined. In the end, it reminded me vividly of the soft sweet rolls in Asian bakeries — which was unexpected, but, since we’re still missing Japan, lovely.
Hope you’re all having wonderful Wednesdays and beautiful summers!
A cobbler can mean all sorts of things, from biscuit toppings to pie crusts to crumbles, but for this one I wanted the truest Southern version I could find -- so it was a no-brainer to look to my girl Erika from Southern Souffle. Hers is what I imagine the quintessential cobbler to be, and though I took some liberties with it to adjust to what I had in the pantry, it was perfect -- almost like sponge cake with a slightly crisp, gently caramelized crust, baked right into the fruit so that you don't know where one ends and the other begins. Thank you for never once steering me wrong, friend!
- 3 cups sliced white nectarines or white peaches (about 3 nectarines)
- 1 cup peeled, pitted and halved lychees, longans or rambutans (see Notes)
- 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped (optional)
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp milk
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, toss the nectarines, lychee, vanilla innards, brown sugar, and cornstarch until evenly coated. Divide evenly between four 8-ounce ramekins or miniature cocottes (I used these by Staub). Alternatively, use one 8x4 loaf pan.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Use the bowl from your filling to whisk together the milk, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract, then fold the milk mixture into the flour mixture until just incorporated. The batter will be quite liquid, like cake batter.
- Pour the cobbler batter over the filling, letting some of the fruit poke through in spots. Fill the ramekins just shy of the top -- the batter will rise in the oven.
- Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy warm with ice cream.
Lychees, longans and rambutans all differ slightly in taste (I enjoyed this comparison, although I think longans might actually be my personal favorite!) but if you can get any one of them, they will do wonderfully here. If not, canned lychees can usually be found in most Asian supermarkets regardless of season -- and white peaches or nectarines will be just lovely on their own, too.
(By the way, this particular lychee I came across was green when ripe -- the first time I've ever had a green lychee! -- but they will usually be a bright pink.)
On substitutions: you can use 1 cup of self-rising flour in place of the 1 cup all-purpose and 1 tsp baking powder, and if you have buttermilk on hand, feel free to substitute a scant cup in place of the milk and Greek yogurt. See Erika's recipe.