Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cherry Cobbler

Now that I live alone, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about how to prepare food in small quantities, and how to do it with real food and not fake processed food. I love to find simple comfort foods in my collection of old cookbooks. Today I tried cherry cobbler. The young people of today might not have heard about cobblers, since I don't find them in many recently published cookbooks or in restaurants. This cobbler is adapted for my one person household (although it can stretch to serve two), from the original recipe in Prairie Farmer-WLS Cook Book, centennial edition, edited by Gladys Blair (Chicago, the Prairie Press, 1941).

This cobbler is from the era of using less sugar than is used today. With sugar, less is often better than more. I think it is very good.

I must give credit to Mrs. Robertson for the cooking skills that were taught to me long ago in seventh and eighth grades. She gave me a wealth of knowledge about basic food preparation in that home ec class of long ago. I didn't know how valuable her teaching would be for me for the rest of my life. Because of her I know that cobbler dough is biscuit dough and is to be treated as such so it won't be mixed to death. I salute you, Mrs. Robertson, wherever you may be, in Sturgeon Bay or in the great banquet in the sky.

Cherry Cobbler for one or two

1 cup (approx.) canned cherries
1/2 cup cherry juice (from can)
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 tablespoons milk (approx.)

I suggest using a baking dish that is like a loaf pan, or one of the old Corningware dishes we all got for our weddings fifty years ago, that is squarish and about 7x7 inches and holds about 1 1/2 quarts. If you lack this dish, go to the Goodwill store and buy one.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put cherries and cherry juice in baking dish. Combine sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons flour, and sprinkle over top. Put in oven and stir occasionally until the mixture is heated, about as long as it takes to mix up the dough that goes on top. (This recipe pre-dates microwave ovens, so I don't suggest using one.)

Mix together the 1/2 cup of sifted flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until it resembles pie crust dough. Add milk gradually until soft dough is formed. Do not stir excessively. Roll out dough 1/3 inch thick and place on hot cherry mixture. If dough is too wet to roll, as happened to me, drop pieces of dough on top of cherry mixture to cover most of it.

Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve plain or topped with whipped cream. (Commercial whipped topping didn't exist in 1941, either.)

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