Mama's Chilton County Peach Cobbler

Mama's Chilton County Peach Cobbler

Nearly every summer for as long as I can remember, my family has packed up the car and headed south to the Florida panhandle, where we spend a lazy lovely week lounging on sugar white beaches, reading mystery novels, and gazing at the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

When we were kids, my sister and I could not wait to jump out of the hot car and run headlong into the water -- a joyous summer baptism my own kids mimic today. But almost as thrilling was the annual stop, just over the Mississippi-Alabama line, at one of the many roadside fruit stands boasting a plentiful supply of Chilton County peaches. We ate boiled peanuts while Mama shopped for lady peas and tomatoes, but the main attraction was always the peaches. We knew the magic that Mama would work with them when she rolled up her sleeves to fix her famous peach cobbler.

I always associate the taste of salty short Crisco crust with the smell of sea air, but I'm happy to say that this cobbler tastes equally divine when served at a New York dinner party, or at a country picnic, or on any occasion when summer fruit is in abundance. My sister and I prefer the peach version of Mama's recipe, but Julia gave Mama the ultimate compliment a few years ago when she included the blackberry version in Julia Reed's South. Julia and I recently served it at a lunch in my Nashville kitchen with vanilla ice cream in our Reed Smythe & Company Glass Tumblers, which turn out to make very pretty cobbler dishes.

Chilton County Peach Cobbler served in Reed Smythe Glass Tumblers

Mary Mack's Chilton County Peach Cobbler

For the crust:

2 1/2 cups Flour

1 tsp Salt

1 cup Crisco shortening

1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:

3 pounds ripe Chilton County, Alabama Peaches (GA and SC are good too) peeled, pitted, and sliced

2 cups of sugar

2 tsp of cinnamon

4 tbsp of butter

2 tsp of vanilla

1 tbsp of flour

4 tbsp of fresh lemon juice


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Sift the flour and mix with the salt
  • Cut shortening in with the dry ingredients
  • Continue to mix with a pastry cutter (or food processor with blade) until the mixture forms small beads and the flour is no longer powdery
  • Slowly add ice water to mixture and use hands or food processor to combine until the dough forms a ball.
  • If the dough is sticky, you can add a little more flour
  • Do not knead
  • Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator
  • While dough chills, peel and slice peaches and place them in a large mixing bowl
  • Toss peaches with sugar, flour & cinnamon
  • Add lemon juice and vanilla until peaches are evenly coated
  • Place peach mixture into a 9x13 casserole dish and dot with the butter
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and roll onto a floured surface into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick
  • Cut dough into strips (place left over strips into peach mixture to create dumplings)
  • Cover peaches with a latticework design OR place the sheet of dough over the casserole and prick with a fork
  • Sprinkle sugar on top of the crust
  • Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake until crust is golden and peach syrup is bubbling (30-40 minutes)
  • Set cobbler aside to cool
  • Serve warm cobbler with vanilla ice cream and a slice of fresh peach in Reed Smythe's clear drinking glasses (the perfect dessert bowl)

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