Fresh Fall Recipe
By Carolyn Holan
Pink Michigan sunset skies pour in through several wide windows. My friend Sofie and I are making a mess of the cramped kitchen in our endeavor to make the perfect peach cobbler. The light blue counters are on the verge of disappearing under piles of brown sugar and flour, while pink peach skins continue to pile up in the sink. When we tear into the peaches, the insides are orange and squishy and oozing with juice. After the preparation of the peaches comes the crumble. We realize that the kitchen pantry is pretty sparse in terms of cobbler ingredients, so we decide to improvise a bit. To the crust we add instant oats and a silent plea that we won’t end up with oatmeal on top of our peaches. Sofie takes liberty with the spices, adding nutmeg, clover, and a generous amount of cinnamon to both our fruit and crumble. Then, our dessert is finally finished and ready to be sent into the rickety oven. We spend time cleaning up our mess in the kitchen and dancing to The Head and the Heart while we wait for it to bake. When the smell of fruit and pastry finally begins to flood the kitchen and nearby rooms, we know that is our cue to take it out.
Fruit cobbler is something I love making and am quite good at, if I do say so myself. The excerpt above is from a paper a recently wrote for my English class on fruit cobbler, and was inspired by this to write an in depth article on how to make a fruit cobbler. This recipe was taught to me by my mom, so there is really no recipe written down for it, as far as I’m concerned. It is simple and fairly quick, so anyone can make this fruit cobbler, regardless of baking skillset.
To make this fruit cobbler you will need:
- Fruit of your choice (I recommend peaches, but as those are going out of season this also works well with a mix of berries)
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup of raw oats
- Lemon (optional)
- 2 medium mixing bowls (for fruit and crumble)
- Oven-safe dish
- Measuring utensils
The very first thing you want to do before you start on the actual cobbler is to prepare your kitchen. Preheat your oven to 350˚ F. Make sure that all of your ingredients are easily accessible, along with your measuring utensils, bowls and oven-safe dish. The final step is to take out your butter so by the time you make your crust it will be at room temperature, and therefore easier to mix.
The first step of the cobbler, and perhaps the most important, is to prepare your fruit. If you are using berries, wash and cut them into smaller pieces if needed. You do not want your fruit to be in too small of pieces, so leave things like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc. alone and quarter larger things, like strawberries, if needed. If you are using peaches, there is a very easy way to take the skin of them off. To do this, you need a pot of boiling water and a bowl of ice water, preferably near each other. First take the peaches a few at a time and put them into the boiling water for a few minutes. Then, remove them from the pot using a ladle (not your hands) and place them in the ice water for about 30 seconds. After you do this, you should be able to pull the skin off of the peaches with ease. To cut up peaches, I usually just tear them apart from the pit using my hands, making sure to avoid the stem as well.
After you have done the initial prep on your fruit, place all of it into one of your mixing bowls. Add cinnamon to your taste to the fruit- probably no more than a few teaspoons, unless you really like cinnamon. I like to add lemon, especially Meyer lemons when they are available during the summer because they are a bit sweeter. If you are using lemon juice in your fruit I also recommend grating some of the rind and adding that as well. After you have done all of this, mix your fruit in the bowl and drain the juice if there is a lot of excess, because this can make your crust soggy.
Now it is time to make the crust! In your second mixing bowl, add the flour, brown sugar, butter, and the oats. It is helpful to divide the butter into chunks before you add it into the bowl, but this is not necessary. The best way to mix this is by hand. When it is fully mixed, it should look crumbly, not like a batter. As long as there is not a lot of extra flour, in which case you can add a little extra butter, don’t worry if it seems dry. It needs to be dry in order for you to be able to crumble it on top of your cobbler. To the mix, add a bit of cinnamon and also some lemon rind, if you want.
After you have prepared both the crumble and the fruit, it is now time to finish off the process and put your cobbler into the oven. Add the fruit mix into the dish. It may be necessary to re-drain the fruit after you do this, but that is really up to you and is only needed if a lot of juice accumulated during the time you were making the crumble. Next, take your crumble, and as the name suggests, crumble it as evenly as possible over the fruit. After you have done all of this it is time to place your cobbler into the oven! It should take 20-30 minutes, but if you can smell it prior to this, it may be time to take it out. When you take it out of the oven, let it cool until it is not blazing hot and serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or just by itself.
Congratulations you have made a cobbler! I hope that this recipe worked well for anyone that tried it!