Summertime Supper

The blueberries are done, the wax cherries and some apricots are in the dehydrator, the apricot jam is in jars on the counter (and pushed way back from the edge, uh-huh), the sweet cherry jam is cooling on the counter (also pushed waaaay back). There are still more cherries and more apricots to put up. My hands look a little rough (the fingertips are cracked and stained brown, and my nails are black-ish and gross), but that doesn’t faze me (though the kink in my back is a bit bothersome)—I enjoy dappling in a rainbow of color: blood red, dark blue, and golden orange. Makes me feel filthy rich to have this much fruit piled on my kitchen counters, clogging up my fridge, laying on my bedroom floor (the apricots), and stashed in the freezer in bags and jars.

For the first time, some of the apricots are coming from our own trees. Not many, mind you, but enough to make me feel a wee bit proud.

With all this fruit on hand I didn’t have much choice but to make cobbler. So I made one. And then I made another.

The first one was an apricot-blueberry cobbler, with a smattering of red raspberries from the garden. The second was a rhubarb-sweet cherry with leftover canned strawberry juice in place of the water (I liked this one best).

I played around with the batter and after a series of phone conferences with my Aunt Valerie up in Pennsylvania and a consultation with The Mennonite Community Cookbook, I came up with my own little recipe.

This cobbler is not exotic, but it’s simple and good, the perfect way to use up summer fruit. A bonus is that it doesn’t take much time—something that’s quite important when you’re up to your eyeballs in fruit. It was tonight’s supper, warm, with milk poured on top (and side dishes of leftover baked oatmeal, a cream sauce I was experimenting with, and a sour cherry sauce—cleaning out the fridge cause I gotta have room for all those sweet cherries whose fat cheeks have yet to be squeezed).

Fruit Cobber
Adapted from The Mennonite Community Cookbook and from the recipe that my Aunt Valerie dictated to me over the phone

For the fruit mixture:

5 cups prepared fruit (apricots pitted and cut in chunks, cherries pitted, apples peeled, cored, and sliced, and so forth)
½ cup sugar (or more if you are using tart fruits, such as sour cherries and rhubarb)
1 ½ tablespoons minute tapioca
3/4 cup fruit juice or water (if you are using bland fruits like sweet cherries, blueberries, apricots, add a couple teaspoons of lemon juice)

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the prepared fruit in a 9×13 pan. Sprinkle the sugar and tapioca over the fruit, then pour the juice (or water) over it all. Stir gently. Slip the pan into the hot oven, and while you wait for it to bubble, mix up the dough.

For the dough:

2 1/4 cup flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup, plus 1 tablespoon, milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Whisk the dry ingredients together and then add the wet ingredients.

Pull the bubbling fruit out of the oven and dollop spoonfuls of dough over the top, about twelve or so little mounds. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the biscuits are set—use a fork to pry two biscuits apart and peek inside to see if the batter is fully baked.

Allow the cobbler to cool for 30 minutes. Serve with milk for a main course or vanilla ice cream for a dessert.

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