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

Enjoy,

Irene

 

Poached Quince

Several months ago my daughter sent me an e-mail in which she wrote that she thought I needed an “adventure.”  What she meant was that she wished I would travel more, but there are all kinds of adventures.  Like discovering a new restaurant while out on a stroll, or driving to a concert and along the way realizing that the street you are on is lined with beautiful old homes and majestic trees. (Try Vermont north of Los Feliz)  After many years of contemplating a vegetable garden, last week Norm removed the roses that had lined my garage wall for 25 years (gasp!) to start one.

Just before the holidays, I was walking down the aisle of a Persian market and there was a large display of quince, an odd-shaped fruit that resembles a misshapen pear.  I love quince paste, so I thought why not?  I  bought several to try, did some research, and poached the quince in a sweet liquid.  What I didn’t know was that as quince cooks, the pale cream-colored fresh is transformed into a beautiful shade of rose and the longer it cooked, the more intense the color became.  Sometimes an adventure can take place right in your own kitchen.  Hopefully one day there will be larger scaled adventures, but in the meantime this will do, and I will keep you posted on the new vegetable garden.

Poached Quince  (adapted from David Lebowitz)

This recipe is to taste, make it as sweet or lemony as you like.

5 large quince

4 cups water

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 lemon

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Place the water, sugar, honey, lemon and vanilla bean in a large pot and turn it on to medium heat.  Meanwhile peel, and quarter each quince.  Carefully remove the cores and cut each quarter into thick slices.  Add slices to pot, and cover with parchment paper, trimmed to fit, with a small home in the middle.  Press gently down on paper.  Simmer for about 2 hours.  Quince should keep it’s shape but be very soft.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: This would be a great side to Turkey!

Enjoy,

Irene