When I was a girl, my next door neighbor’s mom made the best cobbler. She always made strawberry, which was a bit predictable, but it was also predictably delicious.
I never got her recipe (though it wouldn’t hurt to ask, I suppose), but that dessert sent me on a very long search for the ideal cobbler. I’m pretty picky about cobblers. I don’t like the kind where dollops of Bisquik batter have been dropped atop a canned filling. The perfect cobbler demands fresh fruit. Nor do I like the ones on which a thick pie crust covers the filling. The perfect cobbler has a buttery crust, equally soft and crunchy, with the fresh fruit and juices bubbling through the crust.
What I love about cobblers is that they are so easy to make, yet folks think they are an elegant dessert. My personal favorite is blackberry, and when peaches are at their peak, there’s not much better than a fresh peach cobbler with an ever so slight hint of cinnamon. Whatever fruit you choose, your best bet will be to pick what’s in season.
Nearby Portland, Tennessee is known for its strawberries, and each year from about April to June, the fruit is available on roadside stands, farmers’ markets and direct from local farms, where you can even pick them yourself. Small and sweet, the deep red berries are little like their California cousins. Personally, I prefer Tennessee strawberries, perhaps because they’re often picked at their peak and not picked to be sent around the country. Florida berries are delightful as well, and they enjoy a longer season. I bought two huge containers of Florida strawberries the other day, so that’s why I chose to highlight my cobbler recipe with strawberries.
Whatever fruit you choose, it’s important to let your fruit and sugar sit for about 30 minutes in order to mascerate. This brings out the fruit’s juices, which you’ll want to be sure and add along with your fruit. Peel and slice peaches. Apricots don’t have to be peeled. I usually halve strawberries, but blackberries, blueberries or raspberries should be used whole.
It’s also important that you do NOT stir the fruit and batter together. Though you add the batter first, it will rise up through the fruit upon baking. Yum!
True to southern tradition, serve warm in a bowl with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (Blue Bell if you can get it), or you can serve with a drizzle of heavy cream.
- 2 cups fresh fruit
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
- Preheat oven at 350F.
- Mix fruit with 1/2 cup of sugar and let sit 30 minutes.
- In a 9x9 baking dish, melt butter in the oven.
- Meanwhile, prepare batter, adding dry ingredients first, then milk.
- Remove dish from oven and pour batter over melted butter.
- Pour fruit and juice on top of batter. DO NOT STIR!
- Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, until brown.
- Let sit a few minutes before serving as fruit filling will be VERY hot.