Just returned from a weeklong Texas trip, so recaps and reviews are in order. To start things off, here’s a recipe for my version of my mom’s version of my Mema’s version of my granny’s version of fruit cobbler. So ultimately it’s a modified 4th generation Hoelscher-Becker recipe from (clap-clap-clap-clap) deep in the heart of Texas. Everyone in the family has their own distinct recollections of the making and consumption of the cobbler, but they all like to reference the crunchy, butterscotch-y edge pieces, a result of pouring the wet batter into the melted butter.
I asked my sisters for some of their related memories. Here’s what they conjured up –
Gooey plips snuggle
M: On the rare occasions Mom would make cobbler, I remember smelling it from my room. I’d leave my homework and follow the smell down the stairs and into the kitchen. Usually the only light on in the kitchen while it was cooking was the light above the stove. Opening the oven while something is cooking in this family is strictly forbidden so whilst peering into the oven one had to cup their hands around their eyes and squint to see the golden cobbler baking. And of course the lightbulb in the oven was always out so the suspense built until the tart-sweet treasure was pulled out… It wasn’t so much that the cobbler tasted delicious – I think I’ve always enjoyed it because it’s been handed down and I like thinking about mom eating it when she was my age or Granny cooking it for Mema. I always imagine them in the same dim glow similar to the lighting in the kitchen when I’d creep down to check to see if the cobbler was ready yet.
4th Generation Fruit Cobbler**
Approx. 3 cups roughly chopped fresh fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines, raspberries, blueberries, etc). You can supplement with frozen fruit (raspberries, blueberries, and peaches work best)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar (could use a little less or a little more depending on the sweetness of your fruit)
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the stick of butter in an oven-safe ceramic or glass cake pan and put in the oven to melt while you chop the fruit. Once the butter has melted, remove about a half of it to a mixing bowl. (Take care in doing this – hot pan, hot butter! Alternately, you could melt half the stick of butter in the baking pan in the oven, and half in the mixing bowl in the microwave. The main point of this is to leave half a stick of melting butter in the baking pan).
Once butter in the mixing bowl has cooled a little, add the milk, vanilla, and sugar, and mix with a whisk until combined. Then add the flour, salt and baking powder, and mix until just combined. The batter will be a bit like a loose pancake batter. Don’t worry if you have a few lumps.
Carefully scatter about a cup of the fruit in the baking pan with the butter. Then pour in the batter. Scoop the remaining fruit on top of the batter, aiming for even distribution.
Bake for about 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown, fruit juices are bubbling at the sides, and the edges are crispy. Enjoy very warm with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream with a little sea salt sprinkled on top.
**If you want to go uber-decadent, you can also make an oatmeal crumb topping, as shown in the photos. For this, cut 2 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter into 1 cup of old fashioned rolled oats with 1 teaspoon of salt. Chill this mixture until you’re assembling the cobbler. Sprinkle it on top of the last layer of fruit before popping the cobbler it in the oven.