THE MINIMALIST; Easier Than Pie: Make It Cobbler
By Mark Bittman
Published: September 6, 2006 in the New York Times
FOR most of us, the two-crust fruit pie is a thing of the past, a calorie-bloated hassle that buried its contents under a mound of dough, and so dry that it begged for ice cream the way some cookies need milk. Tarts, in which the crust is enriched by an egg or two, are preferable, but they require work, patience and even a bit of practice.
Enter the cobbler, in which a very rich, quite sweet crust is spooned over sweetened fruit and baked until browned. The topping resembles cookie dough and turns golden as it bakes. Though the results are undeniably inelegant, they’re completely irresistible.
A cobbler can be made with nearly any fruit, with the exception of the most delicate, like strawberries and raspberries. Late-summer peaches and nectarines are fantastic, as are early fall apples and pears. Perfect, at this moment, are blueberries, which have a tartness that perfectly complements the sweetness of the dough.
I produce the dough in a food processor, but you can easily make it by hand. Soften the butter a bit first, then cream it with the sugar, stir in the egg, and then mix in the remaining dry ingredients all at once. In the food processor, this takes 3 minutes; by hand it might take 5 or at the most 10.
A few options: You can spice the blueberries with a little bit of cinnamon (no more than a teaspoon), or with a mixture of cinnamon and other ”sweet” spices, like ginger, allspice, ground cloves and so on. Better, to my taste, is to add a teaspoon or more of grated lemon zest to both blueberries and dough.
No matter how you season the cobbler, though, it will remain so moist and rich that ice cream becomes a luxury rather than a necessity.
Time: About 1 hour
4 to 6 cups blueberries, washed and well dried, or other fruit (I like to mix fruit and berries– I know that apples, pears, peaches, plums, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, currents all work as does adding some candied ginger).
1 cup sugar, or to taste (I use less because I never mix the fruit with sugar. I only put 1/2 cup in the dough)
8 tablespoons (1 stick or 120gr) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits, more for greasing pan (ou don’t need to Greece if you have nonstick or enamel pan)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F or 190 celcius. Toss fruit with half the sugar and spread it in a 1 1/2-inch-deep lightly buttered 8- or 9-inch square or 9-inch round baking pan.
2. In a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, salt and remaining 1/2 cup sugar and pulse (or mix by hand). Add butter and process for 10 seconds, until well blended. Beat egg and vanilla together by hand and add to mixture.
3. Drop mixture onto fruit by tablespoonfuls; do not spread it out. Bake until just starting to brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Serve within an hour or so.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
I usually make this in a long rectangle pan and it never lasts long. For a 9×13 pan, I make a double recipe. I have successfully used: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, mangoes, apples, pears, and plums. Frozen fruit will work as well.
Here are two cobblers before going into the oven. These were made with fresh strawberries and peaches. Notice how the batter doesn’t cover the whole cobbler– no problem it will melt and get everywhere once cooked.