Summer Fruit Cobbler

My father had a story to tell but unfortunately I was not ready to hear it when he was alive.  I know that he was the youngest of seven children and that his father died shortly after my father was born.  I don’t recall my father sharing many stories about his siblings, extended family or even his mother.  Perhaps the loss was so painful that he just couldn’t bring himself to speak of them, or maybe he thought his stories couldn’t compete with my mother’s colorful delivery.  Either way, there are holes in the family history and nobody left to ask.

My mother was a storyteller and spoke warmly of her large family and their lives in the small shtetl of Mogielnica.  We grew up hearing about my maternal grandfather’s tannery, about her aunt who owned the bakery in town and whose sisters were also bakers, about her unruly brothers who she clearly adored.  The meals, the food, the holidays, the memories were vivid and sharp and I can recall many of them to this day.

My daughter recently traveled to Germany and realized that she doesn’t know as much about my family as she had thought.  She has asked me to write down what information I have, but I must admit it is very limited.  It is a tall order and it feels like I am trying to recreate something without knowing all the ingredients.  So instead, I spent the afternoon baking a Fruit Cobbler, in memory of all the family bakers that preceded me, and in honor of my daughter who wants to know more and is ready to ask.


Fruit Cobbler

1 stick butter

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 Tb baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup milk

4 cups fruit ( I used blackberries and peaches)

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Place butter in a large round baking dish and melt in a 375 degree oven.  In the meantime, mix 1 cup of sugar with the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Add milk, stirring gently but not thoroughly.  Pour batter over melted butter but do not stir.

In a medium pot, cook fruit with sugar and cinnamon for just a few minutes.  Pour over batter and sprinkle with more cinnamon.  Bake for about 45 minutes or till golden brown.  There is liquid in the center even when the cobbler is fully baked, just take the juices and spoon over each serving.  Serves 8




Blackberry Buckle

My mother never baked pies, cobblers, buckles, or crisps, and since I didn’t have the opportunity to meet my grandmothers, coming home or going to grandma’s house for a piece of freshly baked pie was just not part of my childhood.  It is only in the last few years that I have thought how nice it would be to have recipes that were handed down for more than one generation.

Thankfully my children grew up with all four of their grandparents.  My mother passed away many years ago but Bubbie is still cooking up a storm in Toronto.  Both grandmothers loved to cook and both had the pleasure of feeding their grandchildren.  If I asked my children which dishes they loved eating when they went to their grandmothers, I am not sure what they would say, but I would venture to guess it wasn’t dessert.  So back to my fantasy.  It could be any kind of fruit at all, baked with a crust, topped with dough, sprinkled with crumbs, or oozing in a buckle, and really who cares what it’s called.  My plan is to bake each of these desserts this summer, all made with different types of fruit and various toppings, until I find my favorite.  Maybe one day it will even be passed down.  I’ll keep you posted.
Blackberry Buckle
1 cup flour
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 extra-large egg
5 Tb milk
1 Tb Creme de Cassis
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups fresh blackberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Over a large piece of wax paper, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg and beat till smooth.  In a small bowl, combine milk with vanilla and Creme de Cassis.  Alternately add milk and dry sifted ingredients to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition.  Pour batter into a greased and floured 1½ quart baking dish.  Spread blackberries over batter.
Crumble topping:
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tb cold butter
Combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Add small bits of butter at a time, until mixture is crumbly and sprinkle over blackberries.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes.  Serves 4-6