During our stay at Zion we fired up the “dutchy” for some classic cobbler, we use this pot a lot for all kinds of meals, but what we call cowboy cobbler is one of our favorites. With larger groups we use the coal top 12 qt. 12″, for this batch it was just Tori and I so we used the smaller Lodge chicken cooker / skillet combo, this smaller set is one of our many cast iron pots and about the right size for two peoples travels. Even at home most meals are cooked in cast iron, from small 4″ singles to 12″ family sized.
For this round of cobbler we started with a bunch of white peaches. These are a bit firmer than the normal variety that most people see. We got these fresh in Page on our way up to Zion. When cooking out of season we often use frozen peaches or berry mixes for this recipe, we even did a tropical version once with some mango.
After slicing and pitting, we softened them up a little with a simmer in some butter, 1 stick worth, this recipe is not for the dieting types. When we use frozen fruit this simmer step is skipped, and the butter gets added on top of the fruit. Next we add a box of Jiffy cake mix, here we used yellow, but white works great too.
The next step is the baking, which is the hardest part. We usually make this dish as a desert after a dinner and often struggle with waning light and full bellies. This round here at Zion we opted for Breakfast Cobbler, what better way to fuel a days hiking eh? The mornings still had a touch of chill to them so the fire was a welcome addition. The trick to great campfire cooking is to keep the heat even, the simmer step preheated the pan and a few coals on top and a rotation or two will keep the hot spots away.
One nice thing about the chicken cooker/ skillet combo is that you can check the progress with out any “tools”. Mitts or heavy gloves are required as the cast iron will be at oven temps so caution is required. When we use the big “dutchy” I have to lift the lid with a pry bar to check cooking progress, that lift can be a little tricky if your coals are off balance. This batch came out very nice with touch a crispy on one side. Cooking time was about 15 minutes…but varies depending on preheat and the quantity of coals used…here practice will help. Not to worry, some of our first batches were a little on the done side but were still consumed with vigor.
Tori likes lots of cake in her cobbler while I prefer a more balanced mix. For larger batches we sometimes will use two boxes of cake mix, to keep it moist more butter is needed. This batch had a nice balance of fruit and cake.
Its not your typical bacon and eggs breakfast, or your healthier granola and yogurt…but it is made with real fruit…and for a big day of hiking the calories will soon be a memory. The only trouble is deciding who gets the wash the pan.