Crumbles, crisps, buckles, grunts, pandowdies, cobblers—the number of names used in the South to designate various styles of batter desserts made with fruits and berries is truly amazing, and most likely all derive from our British heritage. One may be crunchy, another mushy, and others more like cake than short pastry, but all are basically simple to make and provide delicious alternatives to more ordinary pies and puddings. This particular peach crumble, textured with oats, almost demands to be served with scoops of vanilla ice cream on top.
In a large bowl, combine the peaches and lemon juice, toss, spoon into the prepared baking dish, and set aside.
In another large bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, and salt and stir till well blended. Add the shortening and butter and cut them in with a pastry cutter till the mixture is crumbly. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vanilla and drizzle over the dry mixture, tossing with a fork.
Spread the mixture evenly over the peaches and bake till the crumbs are browned and the peaches bubbly. Transfer the dish to a rack and let the crumble cool slightly before serving.
© 2007 All rights reserved. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.