Easy peach, almond & ginger cobbler recipe

Peach Almong Ginger Cobbler title © J Horak-Druiff 2013

I grow old … I grow old … 
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

From The Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock – T S Eliot

I have  always marveled at how the human brain works – how it remembers to breathe for you, even when you are totally absorbed in other tasks; how it allows you to understand that the sounds “apple”, “manzana” and “pomme” sound different but all refer to the same object; and how it somehow manages to be far more efficient at remembering information presented in some sort of pattern rather than information that is randomly organised. Ask me to recite the principles of South African property law that I studied in 1989 and I will draw a blank.  Ask me to recite the lyrics of Billy Bragg’s A New England that I first heard that year and I will be word-perfect.


Peach 1 © J Horak-Druiff 2013


The history of this anomaly, as it turns out, lies in our long tradition of passing down oral histories from generation to generation.  Human memory is particularly fallible over time and prone to distortion, so those seeking to pass along accurate oral traditions developed forms of verbal organization and strategies over the centuries to make use of the strengths and avoid the weaknesses of human memory – thus minimising the changes that our imperfect memory might inflict on the tales being passed down.  Strategies include describing concrete actions rather than abstract concepts; the use of powerful visual images; singing or chanting the stories rather than telling them more informally;  and most importantly, they are told using patterns of sound: alliteration, assonance, repetition and, most of all, rhyme.  Research has shown that when two words in a ballad are linked by rhyme,  students remember them better than non-rhyming words.

I have always been a fan of memorising poetry – I thank my mother who carried me in her belly to the final few months of her Honours degree in English Literature, and then read to me incessantly and instilled in me a lifelong love of words, often rhyming ones.  The first poem I ever partially memorised was TS Eliot’s wonderful Macavity  and from there I progressed to learning Cargoes, Tarantella and Jabberwocky off by heart.  But it was only at university that I discovered the unknown pleasures of Robert Frost’s Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening; Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach, and TS Eliot’s The Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock, a poem that breaks my heart anew each time I read it.   When interviewed recently, author Jean Sprackland (who helped assemble 130 poems for a new poetry memorisation and recital competition Poetry by Heart) said that a poem known by heart becomes a part of you, and lives with you forever. How right she is: it’s very seldom that I pick up a peach without momentarily contemplating it and inwardly reciting some of TE Eliot’s lines quoted above: do I dare to eat a peach? Just reciting those words make me smile inwardly, as if my mom (who knew the poem even better than I did) is gently reaching back into this world and giving my hand a squeeze.


Peach diptych © J Horak-Druiff 2013


On this occasion, the peaches in question came as a valentine’s gift from South African Fruit.   In South Africa, a third of a million people are employed in the deciduous fruit industry alone and for every farm worker there are, on average, 4 dependents that rely on the fruit industryto provide education, housing, health and social care. And because growing fruit is a very labour intensive industry that can never be totally mechanised, an increase in the demand for our fruit almost inevitably means an increase in job creation in the growing, packing and supply chain in South Africa – something which the country badly needs.  Earlier this year, there was a wave of labour unrest the Western Cape and as a reaction, there were calls from some quarters to boycott South African fruit. But the flip-side is that  as European shoppers become more demanding about how their food is produced, this in turn places pressure on South African fruit farmers to improve ethical farming practices, particularly in relation to uplifting the working conditions and rights of farm workers. Surely, then, engaging is a better strategy than disengaging?

But I digress.  A big red box arrived unannounced at my desk on the 14th, filled with the most gorgeous crimson Flavorking plums; nectarines that literally are as sweet as nectar; and these delectable Scarlet Red peaches. In addition to being fuzzily tactile and beautifully dappled, they were also perfectly ripe – that small window of opportunity between being too hard, and too squishy.  After greedily eating the first one for breakfast, I scraped together enough self-restraint to save another two for making a dessert.  I have written before about cobblers – this one is an American style one and is so simple, a child could make it. The end result is so much more than the sum of its parts – caramelly, spicy and studded with sweet bites of peach flesh, their flavour intensified by baking.

Do you dare to eat this peach?  I absolutely insist that you do.


Peach almond & ginger cobbler 2 © J Horak-Druiff 2013


DISCLOSURE:  I received the peaches as a free sample from South African Fruit – they are available in all major UK supermarkets till the end of March.


5.0 from 4 reviews
Peach, almond & ginger cobbler recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This spicy caramelly baked peach dessert is delicious - and so simple, a child could make it!
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
  • 40g granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp ginger (ground)
  • 50g slivered almonds, divided
  • 2 ripe peaches, unpeeled buc cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 120g cup flour, sifted
  • 60g granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • 65ml evaporated milk
  • 40g butter, melted
  1. Mix sugar, ginger and half the almonds. Place the chunks of peach in the bottom of a lightly greased oven-proof baking dish. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the fruit.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients together. Mix the egg, milk and melted butter and stir into the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.
  3. Pour the mixture over the peaches and sprinkle the top of the dish with the remaining almonds. Bake at 170C for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown and set in the centre
  4. Serve hot, with cream or ice-cream.


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    • Jeanne says

      I know peaches are not in season… but I could not resist these beautiful babies from South Africa, and I always love supporting the South African export industry! Will be going home to South Africa in a few weeks and will be overdosing on peaches and plums while I am there :)

  1. says

    My daughter told me that she had to learn ‘Tyger, tyger burning bright’ yesterday and immediately the rest of the first verse came back to me – it was the first one I remember having to learn at school… and a very tricky one at that, now I’ve looked it up again!
    Now my peach poem memory would be Each, peach , pear, plum, I spy Tom Thumb – could probably still recite the whole of that book, having read it to the kids many many times in years past.
    I’m going to have to go and look for those peaches in our supermarkets here, but I have a sneaking suspicion that all the best ones go to you over there! Haven’t had a good peach in a month or so.

    • Jeanne says

      Aaah – Blake! I love “Oh rose, thou art sick” – think I know that one off by hear too, now that I think of it… I have to say, though, that even the worst fruits in SA seem to be more flavourful than the ones in sale in most UK supermarketes…!

    • Jeanne says

      Aaah – Blake! I love “Oh rose, thou art sick” – think I know that one off by hear too, now that I think of it… I have to say, though, that even the worst fruits in SA seem to be more flavourful than the ones on sale in most UK supermarketes…!

  2. says

    Ah, the SA Fruit strikes again! I was also grateful to have received said fruit but managed to eat them all before getting around to actually turning them into a recipe. This looks marv, and I’ve been feeling the urge to “cobble” lately. I’m from America but fruit pies and cobblers weren’t in my family tradition (we were more the pumpkin pie and pecan pie sort of family) but I’ve always wanted to acquaint myself with the humble cobbler (I may just be sick of crumbles!). A good excuse to make some ginger ice cream, too (one of my all time favourite ice creams to make, with fresh ginger-infused cream!).

    • Jeanne says

      I know what you mean!! The temptation was so huge just to eat everything fresh… I didn’t realyl grow up with crumbles or cobblers at home – apple crumble at restaurants was about as far as my experience went. I also pictured a cobbler to be the UK version, with blobs of scone/biscuit dough dotted about on top of the filling – I was rather surprised when the first cobbler recipe I tried was closer to clafoutis! Bow I love the American cobbler style – and yes, much as I love crumbles, I am all crumbled out right now. Your ice-cream sounds TO DIE FOR!

  3. says

    As I was reading this post I was conscious of the slight fragrance of peaches. Then I realized it was not only the prose but the empty glass of peach juice I had had earlier. The mind really does work in mysterious ways.

    • Jeanne says

      Damn – and there I was thinking I’d inadvertently invented smell-o-vision on my blog! 😉 The human mind is a surprisingly easily fooled thing sometimes :)

  4. says

    How lucky to have peaches in the dead of winter! And to turn them into such a luxuriously winter dessert as a warm cobbler. Beautiful! And I am absolutely no good at remembering poetry but I can remember and recite entire conversations I have had with people years, even decades ago. Or so my poor brain thinks. I do remember being a guniea pig for a psychology student’s project where I was given a long list of paired words, asked to memorize them and then regurgitate the pairs later which I did. The student was shocked and said I was the only person able to do it and she asked me how. Who knows, right? The brain works in mysterious ways. Now pass the peach cobbler, please.

    • Jeanne says

      LOL – the brain does indeed work in mysterious ways. In addition to remembering poetry and song lyrics, my other superpower is being able to tell you where and approximately when I bought practically every item of clothing or shoes I own. Fact! :o)

    • Jeanne says

      Sorry ;o) I know peaches are not yet in season here, but I do love supporting S African fruit farmers… I agree 100% that every child should be made to memorise some poetry – it is life-enriching!

  5. says

    Memories get easily distorted as people experience events/things differently…

    This cobller looks wonderful and so do those peaches! Aaahhh, so summery.



  6. says

    I’ve been pondering the importance of stories in our lives too, Jeanne, of oral histories, poetry, songs, dances, art, all those things that help us express ourselves and hear the voices of others. This cobbler looks so beautiful. What a wonderful surprise gift that gorgeous fruit must have been. :-) I stopped by a grocery store this week that I rarely get to, and on that day were buckets of perfectly ripe white peaches and white nectarines for only $3 each!! YIPPEE! I was a happy camper, I tell ya! :-)

    • Jeanne says

      I am a huge believer in keeping alive oral histories, especially within families. There is something tremendously bonding about the telling and retelling of a familiar story over many years, and I fear it is an art that is getting lost gradually. The fruit was the best Valentine’s present I could have received! Wildly envious of your buckets of perfectly ripe peaches… Very hard to find perfectly ripe fruit in UK supermarkets!

  7. says

    I’ve always been quite amazed at my ability to remember songs from decades ago and being able to literally tell you the words of those songs while, indeed, the stuff that I should have remembered is lost forever. I’m not a big fan of poems but songs are in essence a kind of poem right? Plus they go with music, making the remembering part even easier. Give me the tune and ill tell you the words!
    Loving this beautiful peach cobbler. Had already seen it pass by when I was in Laos and you made me crave it there ( no peach in sight ofcourse )

    • Jeanne says

      Funny, isn’t it?? I can remember song lyrics I learnt in the early 1980s, but ask me something I learnt in high school Biology and I will draw a blank! I often say I cleared all the useful stuff out of my brain years ago and retained only the song lyrics LOL! Hope you get to try this peach recipe in the summer – it was a total hit in my house :)

    • Jeanne says

      Thanks, lovely! Do try the peach cobbler in the summer – I suspect it will be a hit with children and adults alike at a summer lunch :)

  8. says

    Those juicy sweet peaches remember me of summer. Can’t wait for Spring to arrive…! Love the look and sound of this comforting cobbler, great idea to add some ginger too.

    • Jeanne says

      Thank you! The warmth of the ginger turned this into a proper winter treat :) Lovely to have a surprise gift of summer fruit in the middle of winter :)