For the topping:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1⁄3 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1⁄2 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbs. minced crystallized ginger*
- 1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
- 10 Tbs. (1 1⁄4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut
into 1-inch pieces
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
For the filling:
- 5 lb. firm but ripe peaches, peeled and halved
- 3⁄4 cup sugar
- 2 Tbs. cornstarch
- 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (optional)
- Vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream
To make the topping, in a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cream of tartar and salt and pulse to combine. Add the crystallized ginger and almonds and pulse 2 times to combine. Add the butter and pulse 5 to 7 times until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cream and pulse until moist clumps form.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a couple of times to form a smooth mass. Shape into a rectangle 3/4 inch thick. Dip a 2 3/4-inch round cutter in flour and cut out 8 rounds of dough. Scraps can be rerolled once if needed. Refrigerate the rounds for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling: In a 3 1/2-quart Dutch oven, combine the peaches, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and cinnamon. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the pan, add the bean and stir to combine. Set the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is just beginning to bubble and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Remove the vanilla bean and discard.
Arrange the dough rounds in a single layer on the peach filling. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the topping is golden brown and cooked through and the filling is bubbling, about 35 minutes. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
To serve, spoon the cobbler into shallow bowls and accompany each serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Serves 8 to 10.
* Available at Williams-Sonoma stores.