Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cobbler, the humble pie.

I don't know about where you live, but in the Blue Ridge, we've had a lot of this lately:
I admit to having grown weary of driving in the snow, but when I saw this beautiful old barn in my recent travels, out came the camera. Later, I would want to pull up that photo of claret-colored boards and heavy silent snow and remember how scenic the Tennessee mountains were that day, how much I enjoyed having lunch with my boy, and the drive home to Virginia with my thoughts and gratitude for company.

Sometimes a recipe card is like a piece of history or a photo, with its memories attached. Take this one, for example.

It is written in my former mother-in-law's hand, butter-stained and well used. The recipe outlives her and belonged to her mother-in-law. It reflects a thrift that comes of feeding many mouths with few resources, but also a dependably good flavor. Great-Grandma Speaks raised her family on cobblers and such, but mostly a large pan of biscuits baked every morning to get them through long days of farm work. As humble as her recipe, I still remember the tears she cried when we delivered a new range to replace her worn-out old one. I like to think about all the homegrown and canned fruit she added through the years - peaches, apples, berries - and my own compromise version with one fruit on each side of the baking dish, to please any divided household.

The recipe really could not be simpler and starts with a stick of butter melted in a 1-1/2 quart casserole or 8 x 8 baking dish while the oven preheats. Then, make a batter of:
1 C. sugar
3/4 C plain flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla (my addition)
1/2 t. cinnamon (my addition)
pinch of salt
3/4 C. milk
Pour this over the melted butter. Stir 2 cups of fruit with 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar, as desired, and pour the fruit over the batter like this:

Today, I chose tiny, wild Maine blueberries and, because they're so sweet and I'm trying to be good, I did not add any sugar (though I sneaked in several raspberries looking for a home).

Bake at 350 for one hour, until golden and bubbly. I found these adorable heart-shaped baking dishes on another trip to Michael's for an unbelievable 99 cents and note that I divided one recipe in half and cut the baking time to 45 minutes:

Now, as if this wasn't sweet and warm and gooey enough, I took a quick Google trip, looking for chocolate cobbler recipes and found the amazing and mouthwatering blog:
Go there now - it will make you smile. But come right back, because there's more.

Anyhow, I'd always fancied trying chocolate cobbler and their proportions were close enough to Great-Grandma Speaks' recipe that I felt comfortable taking it for a spin. I therefore substituted Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips, leftover Madagascar milk chocolate, and some southside Virginia pecans instead of fruit, plopped in a tablespoon of Nutella for good measure, and about that, let me just say this:

1 comment:

  1. I spent many hours picking blackberries, wild plums, peaches, and pears in my long ago youth. I wasn't motivated by money ... I was purely, selfishly motivated by knowing Aunt Ruby would turn whatever I was picking into a rich, flavorful cobbler. It would be served warm with perhaps a touch of extra butter or for very special times, a big scoop of hand churned ice cream! Oh...wait....I still have some blackberries in the freezer!!