For the Best Crust, Pour Hot Water on Your Peach Cobbler (No, Really)

published Jul 19, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Summer is here, and with it comes the bounty of incredible stone fruit to pack into pies and bake into buckles. In the search for simpler and better ways to savor the season, we’ve already learned this year about how to cut out even the clingiest of pits from peaches. Now, Epicurious shares their top tip for the perfect crust on a cobbler. 

As shared on Instagram last week, hot water is the secret to a “shiny, crackly top layer” that Epicurious compares to a crème brûlée with fluffy cake underneath. Sounds pretty tempting — and all you have to do to get it is be willing to dump hot water all over the (literal) fruits of your labor. 

The trick, which Epicurious explained in-depth last year, comes from Seattle chef Renee Erickson’s first book, A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus. The whole cobbler recipe, which she learned from the original owner of her first restaurant, Susan Kaplan, is designed for ease — it doesn’t call for peeling the fruit, nor cooking it on the stovetop. Just slice and add it to the baking pan. Then you beat together a batter and smear it on top followed by a sprinkling of sugar. Finally, the last step is where the brilliance — and bravery — comes in. 

“Drizzle the hot water evenly over the sugar, using it to melt the sugar into the topping,” the recipe instructs. She reminds you to use the entire half-cup of hot water, admitting it’s a strange method but reassuring readers that it works. “It’s an impressive and satisfying combination that requires no extra work on your part beyond a leap of watery faith,” Kendra Vaculin wrote for Epicurious last year.

She also added a few more tips, including some important notes on the timing: It seems that the trick works well, although requires eating the cobbler the same day for the ideal texture. But given how great the end result is, that doesn’t seem hard to manage.