Baskets of local strawberries are overflowing at Farmers Markets all over Ontario this month. I usually exercise no restraint and buy way more than we can possibly eat. Then, I’m left with a fridge full of almost rotting fruit. I blame my mother for this. I grew up in a house where we had a storage room filled with bulging shelves because she never want to run out of anything. We had enough extra toilet paper, KD and canned white tuna (packed in water) to survive for a year without ever having to leave the house.
But this week, I showed great self-control and deliberately bought just one quart, exactly what we need for our morning yogurt, berries and double coconut granola. However, my son’s room-mate Polly arrived for dinner on Friday night, with a 3-quart basket of plump local strawberries. So sweet! We ate strawberries with every meal that weekend, but still had a quart of soft berries left over on Sunday night.
I was about to freeze the extra berries when my husband asked, “why don’t you just bake me a fruit crisp instead?” Why not indeed? Since I have already blogged about my favourite crisp recipe, I wanted to try something new. Maybe a crumble, a pan-dowdy, a grunt, a slump, a buckle, a Betty, a sonker or a cobbler.
I decided to turn them into a cobbler. I had never made one before and it couldn’t be easier. While a crisp involves stopping of flour, butter, sugar, oats and sometimes nuts, a cobbler is basically a biscuit dough that gets dropped into clumps on top of the fruit and is then baked. Large cobblestone-like nuggets of crunchy dough to soak up all that warm sweet juicy fruit. Are you with me?
I decided on a mix of strawberries and raspberries. Mix the fruit with just a bit of sugar and some thickener. I like Minit Tapioca better than flour or cornstarch. Let the berries, sugar and tapioca sit for about 15 minutes so that the tapioca can dissolve. The fruit gets a head start in the oven while you prepare the biscuit dough. The original recipe calls for buttermilk, but I never have buttermilk when I need it. I just mixed some milk with a bit of lemon juice to sour it and made my own buttermilk. Flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, melted butter and buttermilk are quickly mixed together for form a dough. The cornmeal adds a satisfying little crunch to the dough.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces and drop the clumps onto the hot cobbler. Top with cinnamon sugar and bake for another 20 minutes.
Show some restraint and wait about 20 minutes before you dig in.No one will complain if you add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some softly whipped cream on the side. Any leftover keeps very well for a second day. Keep cobbler uncovered on the counter so the biscuits stay crunchy. You can warm it up in a 350°F oven for a few minutes if you like.