Cherry Berry Cobbler

I wanted to call this “Odds and Ends Cobbler” but I didn’t want to put anyone off with such a strange name.  The recipe I used was originally called “Blueberry Cobbler”, but since less than half of the fruit I had was actually blueberries, I didn’t really think that made much sense.  (Side note: All the blueberries came from my bushes!  Yay for summer fruit!)  I had a carton and a half of Rainier cherries, a handful of raspberries from the yard, a pint of strawberries from the farmer’s market, and a fair sized bowl of blueberries that I had recently picked.  My recipe called for 30 ounces of blueberries, and I ended up with 28 ounces cobbled together (No pun intended.  Oh, you know you want to laugh at that.) from my various shopping/picking excursions.  I was very happy with the recipe… It was easy to put together and the biscuits were amazing.  The cinnamon sugar on top gave them just the perfect amount of sweetness and crunch, and I think it’s safe to say that we’ll be eating some version of this pretty regularly for the next several months.

Oh, by the way, I’m now totally into instagram.  Join me, it’s awesome.

 

Blueberry Cobbler

Cooks Illustrated Cookbook

Filling:

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

pinch ground cinnamon

pinch salt

6 cups (30 ounces) fresh blueberries, rinsed and picked over, or equivalent of whatever fruit you have.

1 1/2 teaspoons grated zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice

 

Biscuit Topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons stone-ground cornmeal

1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

For the filling, stir the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl.  Add the berries and mix gently until evenly coated; add the lemon zest and juice.  Mix to combine. Transfer the berry mixture to a 9 inch glass pie plate or 8 inch square baking dish, place the plate on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the filling is hot and bubbling around the edges; about 25 minutes.

For the biscuit topping, whisk the flour, cornmeal, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl to combine.   Whisk the melted butter, buttermilk and vanilla together in a small bowl.  Mix the remaining sugar and cinnamon in another small bowl and set aside.  One minute before the berries come out of the oven, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined and no dry pockets remain.

Remove the berries from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees.  Pinch off 8 equal pieces of biscuit dough and place them on the hot berry filling, spacing them at least 1/2 inch apart so they do not touch.  Sprinkle each mound of dough with the cinnamon sugar.  Bake until filling is bubbling and the biscuits are golden brown on top and cooked through, about 15-18 minutes.  Cool the cobbler on a wire rack before serving.

My Fruitful Yard

Remember when I asked you all for advice on what this plant was?  I thought (hoped!) it was blueberries, and many of you concurred.  Well guess what?  We were right!

I checked up on them today, and I found these little guys popping up all over them.  I have 8 good sized bushes, and they’re all putting on what looks like a bountiful crop of fruit… I see a summer full of crisps, pies, and cobblers on the horizon, and I for one can’t wait.   I also have several of these guys peeking out:

And I’m letting my cilantro run wild in the hopes of collecting some coriander seeds – although I may give in to my inner OCD person and cut it down if it gets much bigger.  It’s almost as tall as I am, which is a little wild looking.

I know many people are enjoying the fruits and such that are slowly making their way into the grocery stores and farmer’s markets – what are you guys’ favorite springtime treats?  Me, I love strawberries more than almost anything – they’re my favorite fruit, right behind peaches.  I know I’m going to be overrun with berries before too long, so do you all have any suggestions for what I can do with them?

Summer Fruit Crisp

Oh, how I’ve missed my little blog!  What with surprise out of town visitors (twice in one month, no less), a visit to the lake, a very scary but thankfully minor illness for one very special little Bassett Hound, and myriad other last minute activities, I’ve been so wrapped up in trying to get enough sleep that I haven’t had time to tell you about all of the wonderful things I’ve been making.  I just couldn’t bear it any longer though, especially with this wonderful little summer dessert to share with you.  Although, if I’m honest with you, I’ll admit that I ate a little of this for breakfast a few times, and also as a snack – it’s really very versatile, and so good that you’ll want to take a spoonful every time you open the fridge and remember it’s in there.  I’m really very proud of this dish for another reason as well – I made it up all on my own without using a recipe!  It is a crisp, and so simple to make that if you’ve made one before you can probably make one again without any help, but that doesn’t make me feel any less accomplished.  It turned out beautifully, and I hope some of you will attempt to make something “free-style” and enjoy the results as much as I did.

This dish came about because, as so often happens at my house, I had bought some fruit and then promptly forgotten about it.  Actually, I bought Rainier Cherries for the first time on the recommendation of a friend and did not eat them quickly enough – although I have no idea why since they are so delicious.  Not at all like other cherry varieties, most of which I don’t care much for.  They were sort of sweet and tangy, but with a mild flavor.  I loved them, and will definitely buy them again next summer when they are back in season. Also, I had picked blueberries from my Mama’s bushes that needed to be used (or frozen, but really it seems like such a waste to freeze something that tastes so darn good fresh), and I had bought more peaches that were sitting on the counter waiting to be used.  Since I had all of this fruit laying around I decided to dump it all together and make a crisp…really it was the only thing I could think of that would allow me combine all my fruit and still taste good.  I peeled my peaches and sliced them, and pitted my cherries, then mixed them with the blueberries in a large bowl with a couple tablespoons of flour and about half a cup of sugar – but you can certainly adjust the sugar depending on the sweetness of your fruit, and how sweet you like your crisps to be.  I let that sit for a minute while I buttered my baking dish then I poured it all in and let it cook in a 350° for about 45 minutes.

I stirred it a couple of times while it was baking, and when it was all bubbly (and mine was very purple from all the blueberries) I pulled it out to put the topping on.  I made a topping that I’m very familiar with – it’s based on the one that my mama puts on her sweet potato souffle at Thanksgiving – I just adjusted the amounts to get what I wanted to cover my fruit.  I started with equal amounts of flour and brown sugar, but I’ll admit that I added a little extra sugar because I like the topping so much. I also added rolled oats, for a little crunch, and some cinnamon and ginger because I wanted to.  Then you drizzle the lot with melted butter, mix thoroughly, and pour evenly over the top of your crisp.  Bake the whole thing again for 18-20 minutes or until the topping is golden brown, and Voila! Summer Fruit Crisp.   I was really pleased with the flavor of mine – It was not too sweet, just a little tart, and altogether perfect.  The cherries stayed somewhat firm after being cooked, so they added texture as well as flavor to the dish, and I think that was my favorite part.  The peaches were soft and sweet, the blueberries tart, and the cherries just brought everything together by being the middle ground between the other two.

As I mentioned earlier, crisps are really very basic and are one of the most easily adaptable recipes out there.  You can use just about any fruit to make one, and it is completely appropriate to eat at almost any time of day – warm with ice cream for dessert, or cold for breakfast, etc.  This particular crisp is going to be a favorite of mine, I can already tell.  Since it contains peaches, which I consider to be the very essence of summertime, and my new favorite fruit, Rainier Cherries, I think I will probably be making it for many summers to come. Enjoy!

Summer Fruit Crisp

  • 2 large peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into slices
  • 1 pint Rainier Cherries, pitted and halved
  • aprox 2 cups blueberries *
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
For the Topping:
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar *
  • 3/4 – 1 cup rolled oats *
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6-8 tbsp melted butter *
  1. preheat oven to 350°
  2. Toss fruit, sugar and 2 tbsp flour in large bowl to combine.  Butter an 8×8 square baking dish. Transfer fruit to dish and bake for aprox 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fruit is bubbly. Remove fruit from oven and increase temp to 400°.
  3. While fruit is cooking, mix the flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, ginger, and salt together.  Drizzle with the melted butter and mix.
  4. Pour topping evenly over fruit and return to oven for 18-20 more minutes, or until topping is golden brown.  Cool slightly and serve.
* For these ingredients I used approximate values because I really just used whatever I though was appropriate and didn’t measure as exactly as I should.  For the blueberries, I just had a bag and poured most of them in.  For the brown sugar, I started with that amount, but added a little (I probably had about a cup total). I like the oats, because they make the topping crunchy, but you can omit them if you want, or add more to your taste.  For the melted butter I used enough to moisten the other ingredients and make them a little sticky, but not enough for them all to make one big clump.
Play around with it.  Use other fruits if you have them, or change the seasonings in the topping to suit you…that’s what I enjoyed most about it.  And by all means, if you do change it, please let me know how it turns out!

Blueberry Muffins

There is just nothing like a warm, slightly tart, slightly sweet, fluffy, crunchy topped muffin to start  your day.  I bought these blueberries last week with the intention of making muffins, and then I completely forgot about them.  Luckily, on Saturday morning, while I was shoving things around in my fridge trying to find something appealing for breakfast, the carton fell out and they scattered all over my kitchen…as if to remind me that they were still there, and would I please bake them up into something wonderful?  So, after chasing them all down (a huge disappointment to the dog, who, of course, thought I had obligingly thrown them all about just for him to play with) and cleaning them up a bit, I dug out the first cookbook I ever received as a gift and found a recipe for muffins.  Blueberry Streusel Muffins, to be exact.  What was the cookbook you ask?  The All-New, Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, given to me by my mother for Christmas, 2008.  The recipe is so simple, and it takes almost no time at all to whip these beauties up, and get them in the oven.  They bake for 20 minutes, which is just long enough for you to feed the dog his breakfast, get the coffee on, and hunt down your husband, who is out in the garage building the world’s most awesome vehicle, or whatever it is they do out there.  Then you pull them out of the oven, smear on a little of that butter you made (homemade butter!  More on that later, I promise) and sit down to a perfect weekend breakfast.

 

Blueberry Streusel Muffins:

 

  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds   (I used chopped walnuts, since I was out of almonds)
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
 
  1. Pulse almonds, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and butter 4 or 5 times in a food processor or until nuts are chopped and topping is crumbly.  Stir in oats and set aside.
  2. Combine 2 cups flour and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.  Whisk together buttermilk, oil, and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened.
  3. Toss blueberries with remaining tablespoon flour and gently fold into batter.  Spoon batter into greased muffin pans, filling three-fourths full; sprinkle batter with crumble topping, gently pressing into batter.
  4. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and muffins spring back when touched lightly in center.  Remove to wire rack to cook.

 

Makes 14 muffins.

 

( a note on the lemon, it was quite strong…Next time I would use a little less, maybe even half of that.  I would have liked to taste a little more of the berries, and not so much lemon.)