Barbara Bennett Parsons — Old cobbler flames still burn bright

Researching good recipes can be a humbling experience. I start out by thinking that the bedraggled and well-spattered recipe card I’ve been using for many years is the finest recipe ever concocted. Then I discover there are several dozen other variations of my version that, in all fairness, I’d better try out. Sometimes I go right back to my old faithful, writing it on a fresh new card to signify the renewal of our culinary vows. Other times, I sadly file the yellowed card in the memory file, placing a brand new shiny recipe in its place. I always feel like a heel when doing this. As if I’ve been an unfaithful lover, tossing the steadfast, reliable, but now utterly boring old flame aside. That’s the hussy in me, I guess.

I’ve always loved my old cobbler recipes. It was dangerous to flirt with new recipes. We’ve spent so many happy years together, why would I take such a risky chance? Some irresistible urge led me down a dangerous path. I became seduced by the idea that another, juicier, more handsome, hunkier cobbler recipe was out there, just waiting for me. Once you’ve heard that siren call, you know that soon you’ll throw all caution to the wind and go scampering off after the newcomer. I’m a bit frightened that this behavior might eventually lead to replacing my favorite beat-up old cobbler pan, too. Unthinkable! Forget I ever said that.

So, there are several schools of thought out there in the dangerous murky waters of fruit cobbler recipes. First, does the fruit go on the bottom of the pan, or does it get added on top of the batter? Eggs or no eggs? What about the subversive recipe that begins in a traditional manner, but then breaks all the rules by having you pour one cup of boiling water over your innocent and unsuspecting fruit and batter? Spices or no spices? Sugar the fruit first or let it supine au natural in the naked pan? And then there is the mid-European recipe which calls for a rolled dough on top! Uh, around these parts, we call that a pie.

I have always had two cobbler recipes ( makes me sound completely wanton, doesn’t it?); one for berry cobbler, and one for fruit cobbler. They always understood that each had a separate place in my heart and accepted that fact. You see, the berry cobbler has the batter on top, the fruit has the batter on the bottom. It would be subversive to switch them around, and the berries would burn if put on top. I’m not that cruel.

You will be relieved to know that in the end I came running back to both old faithfuls, flinging myself back to those loving, well known, and forgiving recipes. They understood. They’ve seen it all .

Fruit Cobbler

Use peaches, pears, plums, or apples; prepare the fruit by peeling, coring and slicing. You need about 2 1/2 c ups of fruit. Add a half cup of water to the fruit, more if using a dry fruit, less if juicy

Mix together;

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup milk

In large cake pan, melt;

1 cube of butter

Spread the batter over the melted butter. Put the fruit on top.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Blackberry Cobbler

Use little wild blackberries, marionberries, blueberries, loganberries, or boysenberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

6 cups of berries

3/4 cups sugar

1/4 cup, scant, of tapioca.

Mix together in a glass bowl and microwave for 5 to 10 minutes. This brings out the juices and gets the tapioca working.

In food processor or mixer, blend together;

1 cube of butter, cut into small chunks

Half cup of sugar

1 cup of flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Half cup of milk

Put hot berry mix into a 7” X 11” glass pan. Drop the batter by spoonfuls onto the berries. The batter will spread out and cover all as it bakes. Bake at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes.

Barbara Bennett Parsons, manager of the Grays Harbor Farmers Market located at 1958 Riverside in Hoquiam. Purveyors of fine fruits and berries!