Monday, July 2, 2007

Mom's Fruit Cobbler

It's that time of year -- fresh berries are coming into season. Our recent CSA baskets have been loaded with fresh blackberries. So lately, I've been exploring the concept of fruit cobbler.

I turned to my mother for advice. My mom is the second-oldest of eight children born into a farming family. She is all about cooking with whatever is available and doing it all from the recipes in her head -- or making it up as she goes. The more I ask about what she's doing, though, the more she feels compelled to impose some kind of structure.

Armed with some internet recipes and my mother's guidance, I made a blackberry cobbler that was WAY too sweet (Mom - "That sounds like too much sugar"), then a cherry cobbler that was only a little too sweet ("Still sounds like too much sugar"). Both pans were licked clean, but they weren't ideal.

So Mom took the reins and transcribed the recipe in her head.

Janet's Fruit Cobbler

4 cups fruit
2 cups sugar
3 cups water

Bring to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes.


2 cups Jiffy baking mix
1/2 cup plus a couple TBLS milk, enough to get a sticky ball of dough

Mix together, then knead a few turns on a floured board.

Save at least 1/3 of it for the crust, roll out the rest of the dough pie-crust thin. Cut into squares and add the squares to the fruit mixture. Stir gently only occasionally and cook for about 10 minutes.

Pour into baking dish, roll out the top crust and cover the cobbler. Add some pieces of butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.

Two things: I cringe at the part of the recipe that calls for Jiffy Mix. I'm a big proponent of being highly involved with your food and knowing everything that goes into it, so I would advocate making the dumplings and crust from scratch. (Having said that, I now confess that my two cobbler creations relied on the Pillsbury All-Ready rollout pie crusts. After all, I advocate cooking from scratch, but I also work long hours.)

Second: I found this recipe a lot more appealing when it called for "enough water to cover", but I'm relieved to see that it still calls for such precise measurement as "enough milk to get a sticky ball of dough" and "some pieces of butter."

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