Cooking With Caitlin: A 3-part formula for creating the best cobbler you'll make & eat all summer

CINCINNATI - WCPO is pleased to bring you food blogger Caitlin MacEachen Steininger  as a contributor. She has been tickling the food fancy of her family and friends since third grade. Check back next Monday for a new recipe!

As far as we’re concerned, summer officially begins with the opening of farmers markets and the celebration of Memorial Day. So, what better week for summer's official dessert: Cobbler. It’s the most brilliant way to bring together the deep reds, purples, and blues of the berry displays, and the entire recipe may be simmered down into one simple equation:

FRUIT + THICKENER + TOPPING = COBBLER

Dig a little deeper here, then start with the basic berry cobbler recipe below.

1. Fruit:

  • Select fruits are at their peak of season; berries now, peaches later.
  • Decide how long to cook the fruit based on the texture you prefer: If you like a softer texture, cook until the berries completely burst and start to create their own sauce. If you want a firmer texture, reduce the cooking to only a minute, or skip altogether.
  • Fruits are juiciest at their peak and will require more thickener; let their juiciness guide your thickener decisions…

2. Thickener:

  • Choose between flour and cornstarch knowing that cornstarch yields a more gelatinous texture.
  • For an even, lump-free sauce, make sure all of the fruit – each hunk – is coated in thickener before placing it into the oven to bake.

3. Topping:

  • Tailor even the topping to your tastes: Substitute almond extract for lemon zest, or add a dash of ground cinnamon or minced fresh ginger while the dough is still wet.
  • Homemade is the way to go! BUT--in a pinch, store-bought biscuit dough or sugar cookie dough will work as a topping. Just make sure to roll out either premade dough so it will cook completely and evenly.
  • Play with other options like a simple homemade streusel topping made of butter, flour, and brown sugar. Or, use your favorite granola for a crunchier (and possibly healthier) option.
  • Create as many dollops as there will be guests to serve. That way, everyone gets a hunk of topping and a spoonful of saucy fruit.

RECIPE: Fresh Berry Cobbler

Ingredients

For the fruit...

  • 3 cups fresh Berries
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh chopped Basil
  • 3 Tbsp. Flour
  • 3 Tbsp. Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt

For the crust...

  • 1 cup Flour
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 3 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Shortening
  • 1/3-2/3 cup Whole Milk
  • Zest of 1 Lemon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Prep your berries: rinse, and quarter if using strawberries. Combine with flour, sugar, and salt in a cast-iron skillet. Bring the stovetop to medium-high heat and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the berries start to burst and the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Next, stir in the basil and turn off the heat.
  4. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Using your hands, incorporate the shortening into the flour mixture. Next, stir in the milk and lemon zest until it comes together like biscuit dough.
  5. Using 2 spoons, dollop the dough on top of the berries until all the dough is used. Place the skillet on a cookie sheet and then into the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the dough is golden brown and cooked completely.
  6. Serve hot from the oven with ice cream or whipped cream.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 15 Minutes Yields: Dessert for 6-8  

 

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