My favorite activity in Knoxville so far is to go to the Farmer’s Market on Market Square on Saturdays. Last week provided a whole lot of happy fruits and there was no way I could resist the plump, juicy blackberries. I popped three of them in my mouth immediately after purchasing them, one after the other enjoying the ecstatic burst of sweet summer. I couldn’t wait to have breakfast the next day, knowing that it would be a simple bowl of plain yogurt accompanied by a handful of these lovely things. I mean, just look at them, you can SEE how good they taste!
My husband doesn’t eat fruit, so when I buy it, I usually have to do so in tiny quantities; one banana, maybe two apples at a time. Luckily, we had family visiting (to check out our new digs and new town) so I knew that I could buy the quart of berries and the bag of fragrant peaches and turn them into cobblers.
Finding the blackberries irrestistible, I decided to make those into a cobbler, first. When I started looking into recipes, though, they were all calling for self-rising flour, which, as you may have guessed from reading my last post, I don’t have. Nor had I picked up baking powder, yet, either. So, I made a crisp, which I’ve also heard called a crumble. I used a variation of a recipe I found at Homestead Farms. The original recipe actually calls for both peaches and blackberries, but since I wanted to make two kinds of cobblers, I decided to just add more blackberries.
3 cups blackberries,
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
In a large bowl toss the blackberries gently with the cornstarch and the granulated sugar until the mixture is combined well. In a small bowl stir together the flour, the brown sugar, the oats, and the salt, add the butter, blending the mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Spread the blackberry mixture in a 9 by 9-inch baking dish and sprinkle the flour and sugar mixture over it and bake the crisp in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is golden.
This crisp, or crumble, or whatever you want to call it was awesome! We had it plain, with vanilla ice cream, heck, I even had it for breakfast one day with yogurt instead of ice cream, although that was a little too much sugar in the morning for me. Our family stayed for a week, so when this dessert ran out, I made the peach cobbler. I decided that for such a Southern staple, I would turn to the dusty Paula Deen cookbook given to us by a family friend that lives in Savannah. I’m not a fan of Paula Deen because I like to eat, well, healthy, but the cookbook is pretty good for those comfort foods and desserts for which you gladly throw health to the wind. The recipe below is from the 1998 edition.
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup milk
2 cups peaches (peeled, cored, sliced)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put butter in deep baking dish and place in oven to melt. In a saucepan, mix peaches, sugar and water and bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. In a a bowl, mix sugar and flour; add milk slowly to prevent lumping. Pour over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Still do not stir; batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.
As you can see, this cobbler is quite, doughy. It was like eating sweet dumplings or something. And I could see butter on the top of the cobbler and in my bowl. Gross. I mean, it tasted good and my aunt, especially, loved it, but I preferred the crisp, by far. I think it is interesting that the same recipe from The Lady and Sons listed on the Food Network website uses HALF the butter, all else remaining pretty much the same. I definitely would use half the butter, myself, if I ever made this again.