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Monday, April 9, 2012

Loving the Farmer's Market

Since I was away right before the holiday weekend, my mom took care of the desserts. Trying to keep the meal fairly light, she decided to make a delicious berry cobbler. The berries were macerated and topped with a matzo crumble. Macerating is a fancy term for marinating, but when referring to fruit. It's incredibly easy; the fruit is mixed with sugar, alcohol, or a citrus, and then left to sit for half an hour to 2 hours. During the process the fruit starts to soften slightly and the flavors all meld together into deliciousness.

There are many ways to make a cobbler, and this is just one idea. Test a recipe and decide how you like your cobbler.
Try taking a few pounds of your favorite berries or stone fruits (cut up to roughly the same size each), mix with 3-4 tablespoons of sugar, perhaps vanilla extract or lemon.
Grate some lemon zest for an added punch.
Decide if you like more sugar or less, and build from there.
Gently mix and let sit for at least 1/2 hour. Transfer to a well greased casserole dish.
Top with your favorite crumb topping. I like to use a 1 to 1 ratio: 1 cup flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 stick of softened butter, cut into pieces.
Bake about 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until warm on the inside.
Eat with ice cream!

Looking for something fancier? Here's one from Gourmet magazine, 1997.

Cherry Cobbler

For cherry filling
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 cups fresh or frozen pitted tart cherries (about 3 1/2 pints fresh, picked over)
  • 1 tablespoon Frangelico or Di Saronno Amaretto
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
For biscuit topping
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Make filling:
In a large heavy saucepan whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Add fresh or frozen cherries, liqueur, vanilla, and allspice and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer mixture, stirring, 2 minutes and transfer to a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
Make topping:
Cut butter into pieces. In a bowl with a pastry blender or in a food processor blend or pulse together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. If using a food processor transfer mixture to a bowl. Add milk and vanilla and stir until mixture forms a dough.
Drop topping by rounded tablespoons onto cherry filling (do not completely cover it) and bake in middle of oven 40 minutes, or until topping is golden and cooked through. Transfer cobbler to a rack to cool slightly.
Serve cobbler warm with ice cream.

Happy baking!

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