Serves 6 to 8

Cook’s Notes: I love cobbler in all its forms, whether topped with pie dough or biscuits or batter, as in this traditional Southern version, which definitely wins for speed and ease. To peel peaches, bring a large pot of water to a boil and gently lower peaches in without crowding them. Boil for about 15 to 30 seconds (depending on how ripe they are); remove to a bowl of ice water. The skins should slip right off. If you don’t have a vanilla bean, you could use a tablespoon of vanilla extract instead; if you have vanilla sugar on hand, feel free to use it. After you scrape the bean, be sure to make some vanilla sugar by nestling the bean in a small jar of sugar; let it stand a week or so to perfume the sugar. Children love vanilla sugar in hot tea with lots of milk.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup milk (preferably any kind but skim)

4 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds) peeled, sliced ripe peaches

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the butter in a 9-inch-square baking pan and let butter melt in the oven.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Use a paring knife to scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and into the flour mixture; whisk well. Whisk in vanilla extract and milk until smooth. Pour over melted butter; don’t stir. Spread the peaches over the batter.

Bake the cobbler for 1 hour, until the top is golden and set. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Related column: Back to School: Cheer-Me-Up Treats

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