Okay, I guess it serves me right. You can’t post outright food porn — like this photo of the strawberry-rhubarb cobbler I made this afternoon — without having people ask for the recipe.
Now the first thing I have to admit is that this is not a personal recipe, but one that I Googled up last week after I came home from the farmers’ market with peaches and a stalk of rhubarb. It was posted on someone’s blog, called Eat and Run. So thank you, Helen, whoever you are, because I’ve now used this recipe twice and it’s delicious.
There are two especially lovely things about this recipe. One is that it is very simple, and the batter can be used with just about any combination of fruit. Now that I’m haunting farmers’ markets again, I plan to use this recipe with whatever is in season. Fresh local fruit is the best, and it’s worth paying a little upcharge if you have to in order to get it.
The other thing that makes this cobbler version special is this. Lots of cobbler recipes called for simmering the fruit in a sugar syrup to soften it up a bit before it goes in the pan with the batter. Not many recommend a sugar syrup in which the liquid component is bourbon (the author also suggests sherry or brandy as an alternative).
The cooking and baking evaporates the alcohol, and what’s left behind are those trademark features of bourbon: the vanilla and caramel and butterscotch flavors that the whiskey picks up from the wooden barrels in which it ages. It is subtle in the finished cobbler, but it really adds a little something nice.
Anyway, here’s the recipe, almost verbatim from the other blog. Try it and let me know what you think, and if you add some tweaks that make it even better, pass it along.
For cake -
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
For fruit -
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sherry, brandy, or bourbon
5-5.5 cups of fruit
Room temperature the cake ingredients. Soften the butter. Slice the fruits. Grease a 9 x 9 inch square pan or something like that. (As you can see in the photos, I use a 10-inch cast iron pan for this with excellent results.
Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs and 1 cup of the sugar. Add butter and milk. Add the flour mixture, stirring just to combine. Pour batter into greased pan.
Preheat oven to 375 farenheit.
In a saucepan, simmer together the sherry and 1/2 cup of sugar for 5 minutes. Add the fruit and stir to coat with the syrup. Let this simmer for 1-2 minutes. Pour this hot fruit mixture over the batter in the pan. (Don’t worry if some of your fruit sinks. Also don’t worry if the mixture is liquidy.)
Bake for 30 minutes.