Traditionally in Freetown, we always made a lattice top, rather than a regular top crust for peach cobbler. It was the great hot fruit dessert of the summer season that everyone looked forward to enjoying and I give it here in three parts.
- 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup lard, chilled
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 18× 8× 2-inch baking pan
- 7 to 8 large peaches, washed and drained
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) butter
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh-grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 3-inch piece of orange peel, dried or fresh
- 3 tablespoons brandy
Take a mixing bowl, sift in flour and salt. Add chilled lard, and blend with a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture becomes the texture of heavy cornmeal.
Sprinkle over the cold water and mix together lightly until the dough sticks together.
Shape into a ball and leave it in the bowl to rest for at least 15 minutes.
Divide the dough in half. Roll out one piece of the dough and line baking pan that has been greased lightly with lard. After pressing the pastry gently over the bottom, sides, and corners, trim the overlapping dough from edges of pan. Cover with wax paper and set into refrigerator until needed. Roll out the second piece of dough and cut it into 8 strips. Place the strips between wax paper and place them in refrigerator as well.
Peel the peaches and slice each into 6 or 7 pieces.
When all the peaches are sliced, remove the pastry and strips from the refrigerator.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the bottom of pastry in pan and fill in with the sliced peaches; sprinkle the rest of the sugar over the peaches.
Scatter thin slices of butter, 6 to 8 pieces, over the sugar. Moisten the rim of the pastry and place the strips of dough, weaving them in by placing one across and one lengthwise until they are used up.
Press down along the rim and trim surplus pastry hanging over edges.
Decorate rim by pressing marks on pastry with handle of a dinner knife.
Set the cobbler into the center of a preheated 450° oven, close the door, and turn the oven down to 425°.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving with a nutmeg sauce.
Place the sugar, nutmeg, cornstarch, and salt in a quart saucepan, stir well, and pour in the cup of boiling water, stirring as you pour. Add in orange peel and set over a medium burner to boil gently for 10 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve. Reheat without boiling and add in brandy. Serve warm with peach cobbler (omitting the orange peel).