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Monday, November 11, 2013

What's Momma Makin': Apple Cobbler

One of the things I enjoy most is gardening. Almost everything I know about gardening, I learned from my friend Kathy.  Up until I met Kathy, my only gardening experiences had been as a kid, they weren’t very good experiences, to say the least. 


Dad was head gardener as well as parent in charge of handing down punishments to mouthy young children such as myself.  You think I would have learned eventually, but not me, I’m a little slow on learning the cause and effect theories of life. Dad’s favorite summer time punishment was picking all of the rocks out of the yard so he could plant grass, or once that was done, pulling weeds in the HUGE garden that, I swear, had more weeds than produce!  Picking rocks and pulling weeds does not give one a burning desire to learn to garden as an adult.  

During a particularly long and snowy winter when my kids were young, I met Kathy. We spent that winter locked indoors with the kids, testing out my new Espresso maker, concocting the perfect brew and getting to know one another. One thing about my new friend that completely baffled me was the stacks and baskets full of gardening magazines and seed catalogs she seemed to collect.  Why on earth would anyone want a gardening magazine or to look at seed catalogs?

I spent that winter, listening to her describe her favorite flowers and trees, their beauty, blooms and scents, she had me completely hooked on gardening in no time and I hadn’t even touched the dirt yet!  I couldn’t wait for spring to come so I could dive right in. Not long after that, we bought our first home with gardens of my own to fill and tend.  Kathy dug up her favorite plants and shrubs to share in my new garden, helped me make lists of plants, took me to nurseries, garden club plant sales and garden shows, she taught me everything I know about gardening. 

The fun part of late summer and early fall gardening is harvest time. Over the years I have collected a yard full of produce along with the large number of weeds that still plague me, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, plums, grapes, pears and apples.  

One of my favorite things to make is fruit cobbler.  My cobblers are an excellent dessert but I have a sister who foregoes cobbler for her dessert and saves it for breakfast every time, she loves it with her coffee the next morning.  Now, if it were me, I would have cobbler for dessert then re-heat some for breakfast too!  

This recipe is easy to double if you are feeding a crowd and you can use any fruit with this recipe, apples, berries, cherries, peaches, strawberry and rhubarb, anything you can think of.  Here in Washington we are lucky enough to have wild blackberries every August that are particularly yummy as well.

Momma’s Famous Cobbler

1 cup Flour
1 cup Rolled Oats
1 cup Brown Sugar
½ cup Butter – melted
½  tsp Cinnamon optional - (I only use cinnamon for apple cobbler)

4 to 6 cups Diced Fruit

1 cup Sugar
3 Tbs Cornstarch
½ tsp Cinnamon – optional (for apple cobbler only)
Dash Nutmeg  - optional (for apple cobbler only)
1 cup Water or Juice from Fruit
1 tsp Vanilla

Mix flour, rolled oats, brown sugar and cinnamon if using and butter until crumbly – set aside

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an oblong baking dish (8x11 all the way up to 10x13 if doubling recipe) Arrange fruit in the bottom of the baking dish and set aside. A long dish works better than a deep dish since your topping may sink instead of crisping up if the fruit layer is too deep. Still tasty, just not as pretty.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat mix sugar, cornstarch, and if making apple cobbler, cinnamon and nutmeg, combine well. Add water or juice from fruit, cook and stir until thickened and bubbly, mixture will change in color as it thickens. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour the hot mixture over the fruit, sprinkle crumbly topping over entire cobbler. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, 1-1/2 hours for apple. If the topping begins to get too dark, just lay a bit of foil on top of the center of the cobbler, do not cover completely.

When I am having company for dinner, I will shut the oven off when the cobbler is done and just leave it in the oven to keep warm until dessert, periodically checking to make sure it doesn’t get too brown.  If you have made the cobbler ahead of time, it reheats well, just pop it in a warm oven while you are eating and it should be nicely warmed when it is time for dessert.


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