Someone in my office has been bringing in bushels of fresh-picked fruit lately, and leaving all of it in the kitchen for people to take. Last week it was bags of fresh apricots, and yesterday it was about 15 pounds worth of white peaches. Being the opportunistic vulture that I am, I helped myself to all of it, less a couple of handfuls (I'm not completely unmannered). Even though the peaches were no bigger than golf balls, and they were all either very overripe or very underripe, it was still a significant score.
So last night I sorted the ripe from the unripe (which I'll let ripen and then cut up and freeze for later use), and turned the ripe ones into a big bubbly peach cobbler.
The quickest way to process a lot of peaches like that is to blanch them. Drop them into a pot of boiling water for a minute or two, then remove them and drop them into a sink of ice water. Make a small slit in the skin. If they're ripe, the skin will slip right off, just like a sock. From there, it's easy to remove the pit and drop the two halves into a separate bowl. You can use the same process for tomatoes, to turn them into sauce.
I did this for a while, as there were many pounds of golf ball-sized peaches (as my husband marveled at the blanching process--"I never would have thought of that!") and by the time I was done, the peaches had already macerated down into a half-liquid mass of peachy goodness. To the bowl, I added a tablespoon or two each of ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon, and maybe 1/4 cup of sugar. I dumped that whole thing into a buttered 8 x 12 pyrex dish.
To make the cobbler topping, I took two cups of all-purpose flour and added 2 teaspoons of baking powder, a little salt, and cut in four tablespoons of butter. I added enough cream to pull the whole thing together in a dough, and dropped that by blobs onto the top of the peach mess. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.
Cost: free! Plus maybe 50 cents worth of stuff for the topping.