Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Eats: Raspberry Cobbler

Hello! As far as homemade summertime desserts go, it's hard to beat strawberry shortcake and ice cream. And while both are great, my vote for the best homemade summertime dessert goes to:

Raspberry Cobbler!

I'm not sure when my affection for this dessert began. Although my mom would make strawberry shortcake, I don't think she ever made raspberry cobbler. Since raspberries are expensive even in season, she likely thought it'd be a pricey treat to make enough to feed our family of 10. 

Nevertheless, when as an adult I saw raspberry cobbler on the dessert menu while dining in Akron, PA, I decided to order it. It was love at first bite! I wished I'd skipped the hamburger I'd just eaten and had gotten two servings of raspberry cobbler instead. 

This memorable meal took place back in the early 1990's, but it set me on a search ever since for a raspberry cobbler recipe that could compare to the restaurant one. And thanks to Marcia Adams' Cooking From Quilt Country, I think I've found a great homemade version. 

Raspberry Cobbler (adapted from Cooking From Quilt Country)

Raspberry Base:

4-5 cups raspberries (see note below)
1/2 cup white sugar (see note below)
1/2 cup brown sugar (see note below)
2 tablespoons flour (see note below)
1/2 stick butter, cut in small pieces
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg


1 1/2 cups flour (see note below)
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup milk, approximately
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

White sugar and nutmeg, for sprinkling on top of dough

Preheat oven to 350. Place raspberries in greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish with medium-high sides. Add the sugars and flour; toss. Dot with butter; sprinkle with lemon juice and nutmeg. Bake for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, make the dough. Place the first four ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Cut in the butter. Combine milk and vanilla, and add to flour mixture. Stir with a fork until a stiff ball forms, then turn out onto a well-floured pastry cloth or board and roll out approximately 1/4" thick. Shape the dough to fit the dish you are using and transfer on top of warm fruit. Slash the middle of the dough, then sprinkle a bit of sugar and nutmeg on top. Return to oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the juices bubble up through the slit and the crust is lightly golden. Serve warm, preferably with cream (see note below). Yield: 6 servings. 

Notes: Adams calls for black raspberries, as she thinks they have a more pronounced flavor when baked. They're harder to find than red raspberries, though, so I've always used red when making this. No complaints from me!

The amount of sugars used for the raspberry base makes this dessert quite sweet. Raspberries can be rather tart, but I still like the cut back on the sugars a bit. 

My only complaint about this recipe is that the amount of flour specified didn't seem to thicken the raspberry juices enough. I decided to try a double amount of thickener this time, and used cornstarch instead of flour. This change worked well; no more runny filling!

As with most of my baking, I use 1/2 white wheat flour and 1/2 white flour for the dough. 

Although Adams suggests serving this dessert with cream, I've never done that. But when I've had vanilla ice cream around, I've sometimes used that instead. However, I find raspberry cobbler just fine on its own. 

Perhaps one reason why I like making raspberry cobbler is that my husband doesn't like it, and our daughter can take it or leave it. Thus, there's more for me! But really, I don't need six servings of the stuff all for me, so I cut the recipe in half and bake the cobbler in a small casserole dish. Three servings isn't nearly as piggish - even if I ever decided to eat two servings of it at once and call it a meal.

As in my mom's day, raspberries are still pricey, but this is one recipe that I'll gladly splurge on!

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