Monday, February 18, 2008

Recipe: Berry Cobbler

Glinda writes:


I have come to believe that family stories reside in recipes. Head into those spaces of foods we used to know or have always known. Mix them up. Smell those aromas. One goes immediately back in time. The stories spill over almost like ingredients we hardly knew we had tucked inside.

Yesterday, I headed to my treasured folder marked "Aunt Lu's Recipes". A few years back, I was asking Mother for Aunt Lu's recipe for Spiced Peaches. Mother did some calling, especially to Eileen Stevens, Aunt Lu's Granddaughter. We didn't find the recipe, but were able to come close. As time went by, I became the recipient of Aunt Lu's recipes, via Mother's cousin Eileen and Mother. I already had a few. But I am deeply grateful for this collection.

In this collection of well worn hand-written recipes, I have 2 little books. Mother tells me when Aunt Lu used to take care of my brother and me, she would come with a little book of handwritten recipes tucked into her purse. She would have some kind of sweet for us as we arrived home from school. I can still smell those Raisin Bars baking. Plus, she would fix our supper. That meant when our parents arrived home from a long day at work, dinner was on the table. She never ate with us, at her insistence. Dad would take her home.

The above recipe popped out of my folder. I loved that Berry Cobbler. Richard, his family and I have had long and whimsical discussions on what makes a Cobbler a Cobbler. That is the subject of another Blog. This recipe is the Cobbler I knew and loved as a child. I hadn't had it for years. You mix up the dough, put it into a pan, then place the fruit on top. Somehow, like some kind of cooking magic (and there is a lot of cooking magic), the dough rises through the berries to the top.

I made the Berry Cobbler last night with Blackberries Richard had picked last summer at Hollis', which is the family farm of his childhood. Just after I took it from the oven, I called Mother. She was excited because she had not had it or thought about it for a long time. She told me the recipe was actually her Mother's, Lottie Lillian Hart Brenz. She said my Grandmother would usually make it with Blackberries or Peaches. We promised we would bring some in for her today. She laughed and said, "It better not be a crumb."

So here is the recipe. I have a few alterations which modify this to our preference.

~~~Berry or Fruit Cobbler Recipe~~~

(1) Bring 1 quart of berries or peaches to simmer. This should be just so the fruit "steams". It should not be a vigorous boil, which will tear up the fruit.

(2) Sift dry ingredients together: 1 cup white sugar (I used 3/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup Rapadura), 2 cups white flour, 2 teaspoons Baking Powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt (we used less). (I no longer have my sifter, so I run the dry stuff through my big strainer. This keeps all the dry stuff, including the Baking Powder even throughout.)

(3) Melt 4 tablespoons shortening (I used butter or buttery spread; if I am making it for Mother, I will use the buttery spread). Stir in 1 cup milk (I used Hazelnut Milk, which is what I had and is a non-dairy option).

(4) Stir the above together. Spread in greased baking dish. I used a 9x13" pyrex (which seems slightly less in volume than our 9x13" stainless steel pan).

(5) Spoon fruit on top.

(6) Bake at 325 for about 25-30 minutes. To be truthful, I did not set a timer and I do not know the exact amount of time. I used my nose to tell me it was almost done. Then I checked with my finger on the top of the cake part. It should spring back from touch. I also used a toothpick in the cake part. It came out clean. If doughy, it needs to cook a little longer.

(7) Serve with cream, half and half, or ice cream. Be prepared for an old fashioned treat.

No comments: