Peach or blackberry cobbler: an American recipe

One of the small joys of living in the U.K. is messing with British cooking. In the interest of which, I’d like to share an American recipe with you: peach (or blackberry if you prefer) cobbler. And if you live in the U.S., you’re still welcome to it.

I’m not actually from cobbler country. I’m a New Yorker by birth and a Minnesotan by I’m not sure what but whatever it was it lasted many long years. Wild Thing, however, is from Texas so over the years I’ve learned some Southern cooking. Not from her—the only things she likes to cook involve meat—but because it’s fun to feed her something she can get sentimental about.

cobbler, eddie 006The recipe’s is adapted from Trilla Pando’s collection of recipes and interviews, Stirring up memories all the time, which I can’t find online anywhere, new or used, or I’d give you a link. I’d tell you how good the book is, but it would be cruel.

I am, as anyone who’s been reading Notes for a while knows, hopeless with numbers and thoroughly unsystematic, so you’ll find a certain, um, flexibility in some of the measurements. If that worries you, remember that the recipe has survived my numerical incompetence, so it should survive almost anything you can do to it. Except maybe tossing in a half pound of bacon, or some coffee grounds.

A warning: This cobbler (assuming you leave out the bacon and the coffee grounds) has a way of disappearing quickly—it really is good—and I’ve tried doubling the recipe and baking it in a larger dish, but the center never baked through. If you’re going to double it, use two smaller pans.

 

Peach or blackberry cobbler

4 cups of fruit (or a bit more; I always add more; if you’re using peaches, it’s about 7)

1 to 1½  cups sugar, divided

2 to 4 ounces butter

1 cup flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

½ cup milk (whole or 2%, which is called semi-skimmed in the U.K.)

 

Heat the oven to 350 F. That’s more or less 175 c. Don’t worry about it–it’s close enough. Set a square baking dish (anywhere between 8” and 9” square will do) inside it to heat.

The original recipe has you sprinkle ½ a cup of sugar on the fruit and set it aside for half an hour or so. I don’t bother. It’s sweet enough already. So if you leave that out, you’ll only need a single cup of sugar. If you’re using peaches, slice or chop them. Melt the butter. Sift the dry ingredients together, or measure them out and use a whisk to mix them. As far as I can tell, the whisk works just as well as sifting.

Pour the butter into the baking dish once it’s hot, then convince the batter in on top of it. It’s thick, so this is awkward, but spread it around as best you can. Then spread the fruit on top of that. The batter will rise up through the fruit as if bakes.

Bake for 50 minutes or until the center’s set. Test it with a knife to make sure it’s fully set. If it isn’t, toss it back in the oven (okay, okay, slide it back in the oven) until it is.

Serve plain or with cream or yogurt.

Trilla, if you’re reading this, thanks.

52 thoughts on “Peach or blackberry cobbler: an American recipe

    • I can see your point about the peaches. It’s great, though, if (like me) you get greedy at the supermarket and buy too many because they’re on sale and next thing you know they’re starting to get wrinkly.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Saw your amazing photo, left to have breakfast first before reading the post…lol. Love the simple ingredient list…those always are my favorites. It is very similar to a peach Kuchen that I’ve made, since 9th grade home economics class. You’re right, they don’t need added sugar. ☺ Van

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I make something almost the same. I use more milk, so that it pours more easily into the pan, and the fruit sinks more easily. And you need a pinch of nutmeg (or mace if you prefer) in the batter to make it perfect. You can use frozen fruit if what you like isn’t in season. I like using blackberries and blueberries together for this. I’d only sugar peaches for this if they weren’t fully ripe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nutmeg sounds wonderful. I’ll try it. And a little more milk would make a more manageable batter. I may try that as well. I should have said that a friend substitutes soy milk to make it for her vegan son. There aren’t many dessert recipes that work for vegans, but this one has no egg.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Cobbler is a splendid dessert. It’s like a hug in a bowl. Despite being totally British, I’ve been eating cobbler my whole life. My maternal grandmother was born in New Jersey and one of the things her mother “escaped” America with was a recipe book of traditional American recipes. My Gran was not a great cook but my Grandad was and he also had a sweet tooth and a garden full of fruit trees. Many pies and cobblers were devoured. So, despite not being remotely American, cobblers are nostalgia food for me too.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Yum! Copied and pasted to my recipe collection, to be used one day when I permit myself dessert again.

    I’m intrigued – is “convinced” a term used by cooks, or is that a Hawleyism? It creates a beautiful picture!

    Liked by 1 person

      • So you would also persuade bread to rise by vigorously thumping the dough? I think this is a term I need to adopt. It would apply to a great deal of my cooking. In fact, come to think of it, it would apply to pretty much everything I do around the house, from making the bed to routing dust bunnies to dealing with laundry. I like it! It makes me sound like a kind and reasonable person!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh, you are a kind and reasonable person. I just know that. Bread, though, I don’t persuade. I watch and I marvel and it rises all on its own. All I do is add yeast. And toss the whole sticky mess in my magical mixing machine, because I’ve got carpal tunnel syndrome and my wrists are, basically, crap, so I’d wouldn’t make bread more than once a month if I had to knead it by hand.

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          • Among my early memories are my Marmeee on her knees on the kitchen floor, thumping bread dough. Her bread was WONDERFUL, and a too rare treat! I’ve never made it, though … although those bread-making machines are supposed to be pretty amazing. I’ve resisted getting one because I don’t want to be limited to using ready-mixed ingredients, though. If I make bread, I want to decide for myself what kind to make.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Ah. I was unclear. It’s not a bread maker, just one of those kitchen mixers with a kneading attachment–which I suspect doesn’t do as good a job as two good hands, but since my hands aren’t so good I just love it. Like you, I want some control over what I’m baking, and how long it rises and all the rest of that stuff.

              A bread maker circulated around our group of friends in Minneapolis for a while–someone bought or was given it, didn’t like it, passed it on to someone else who didn’t like it who passed it on to us who didn’t like it and passed it on to someone else who loved it and used it for years. It’s all just a question of landing in the right place, I guess.

              She kneaded the bread on the floor? If mine was cleaner (no, we’re not going to discuss that), I’d be tempted, because counters are always too high. They’re designed and built but people who are all, every last one of them, six feet tall. And laughing, I expect.

              Liked by 1 person

            • No, no – my turn to be unclear! She had a big old china mixing bowl and she put that on the floor and made obeisance before it. She’s kinda stubby in the leg vicinity, so kneading it when the bowl was on a table was too hard… :)

              Liked by 1 person

  5. How funny…..this recipe (complete with a relevant photo ! Shock!) given in your own inimitable style…”toss it in the oven”, “don’t worry it’s close enough”, ” I don’t bother. It’s sweet enough already.” OMG. I love it. You ought to do a whole cookbook like this. It would be the most interesting one out there!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t think the cookbook industry would take me all that seriously.

      And just to undercut that statement, did you ever read the I Hate to Cookbook? The only recipe from it I ever tasted was godawful, which may have been the fault of the recipe and may have been the fault of the cook–who wasn’t me–but it was hysterically funny reading. The line I remember is, “light a cigarette and stare sullenly into the sink” while something or other cooks.

      At the suggestion of my editor, I did (with the help of a friend) work up three or four recipes as a kind of add-on to my cooking-related novel. It was surprisingly hard to systematize them and involved cooking everything several times over to be sure we had, first, the right version of the recipe and then to be sure we could reproduce it by following our own instructions. We ended up feeding the results to everyone we could capture.

      Having done that, I went a little wild and wrote increasingly absurd versions of them all, which in the context of the novel made more sense than it sounds like when I write it here. One I was particularly proud of involved half a cup of dish soap and was self-cleaning.

      Are you sorry you brought this up?

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      • OMG. What a riot you are. …..I should’ve figured you’d already been here! I have not ever read the ‘I hate to cook’ book which sounds like a good thing. However, the self-cleaning recipe in your absurd concoction might be a good start to the “Handy Home Tips” spinoff? :)

        Liked by 1 person

        • When I first thought about starting a blog, I toyed with the idea of doing a cooking blog for people too terrified to enter the kitchen. Then I realized what a shitload of work it was to write each post and abandoned the idea for the very blog you see before your eyes, which on a good day I can do while dozing. (That’s not really true, but it is easier than a cooking blog.) I still have a couple of posts I think are funny, including one on how to boil an egg, but–

          Hmm. You’ve got me thinking now. No promises, but it might be interesting.

          Liked by 1 person

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