Rewind a bit. Last summer my neighbor Fin gave me a recipe for fruit cobbler that is, in my opinion at least (and everyone who I've fed it to), the absolute best cobbler recipe ever in all of the history of ever. I've tried so many different cobbler recipes. They *all* call for some type of canned something in some degree of syrup. I dislike this for a variety of reasons, but mostly because it doesn't leave me any wiggle room and disallows me the ability to rummage through my fridge to see what might need to get used up. Also, a lot of those recipes call for the batter to be put on bottom, and as it cooks it's supposed to float to the top through the fruit stuff. Maybe I am just a baking idiot (which I don't believe), but I've always had problems with the batter not rising through the fruit. I wind up with a burned mess on the bottom with a layer of raw dough adhered to it, and a mess of gooey canned fruit on top.
This recipe calls for ... *drumroll*... fruit!! Ha! Imagine that, if you can. You cut up the fruit you're using, sprinkle it with sugar and allow it to create its own syrup, then season it (if you like) with whatever you like. It's fantabulous! CULINARY FREEDOM FROM CANNED GOODS!!! *looks around sheepishly, gets off the chair, and puts away the wrapping paper tube "sword"*
For the fruit:
3 c of fruit chopped/peeled/pitted/whatever as needed, sugared
1 T corn starch
1/2 c water
1 T lemon juice
1/4 c brown sugar - give or take as needed, or use white sugar... or both! Brown sugar is a bit less sweet and adds richness to the over-all flavor.
Spices and other goodies - allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, chopped nuts, raisins, dried cranberries, whatever floats your boat - or none at all if that makes you happy.
Amounts of sugar and spices vary based on the fruit and how much help it needs. This is where being the cook has benefits: you get to lick the spoon ;-)
Mix the corn starch, water, brown sugar, fruit, and spices in a pot and cook until it starts to thicken. Depending on how juicy the fruit is, sometimes I will cook the fruit a little bit to draw some more liquid out before I mix in the corn starch.
Add the butter and lemon juice. I usually skip the lemon juice. I haven't discovered any real benefit to using it, other than it can help prevent some fruits from changing colors.
Pour it in an 8x8 pan, or a round cake pan.
|This is a mix of plums and bing cherries that were a bit past their prime and an apple to make up the difference.|
For the dough:
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 c soft butter
1 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 c milk
* I also throw in a tsp of vanilla, because I like it, and it turns the crust a pretty color.
Mix all of this together until it's smooth. It will be VERY thick.
Pour over fruit. I think my friend used the term "pour" loosely. I end up dropping it with a small spoon to get it to spread evenly. This is the one aspect of the recipe I find a bit aggravating, but it's totally worth it. If anyone has a suggestion to make it easier to spread this super crazy thick batter around, I'd love to hear it!
Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until golden and done.