Baking a fruit cobbler is as easy as pie

April 28, 1993|By Charlyn Fargo | Charlyn Fargo,Copley News Service

It could just as easily have been baseball, Chevrolet and fruit cobblers, instead of apple pie. Fruit cobblers are even more American than apple pie. Europeans had apple pie, but they didn't have fruit cobblers.

Cobblers are a deep-dish baked fruit dessert of American origin made with a top crust only. The crust is usually made with biscuit dough rather than pastry, but lest the Civil War begin again, suffice it to say it can be made with either. In some parts of the country where the pastry topping is preferred, a biscuit topping just won't do.

The key to a good cobbler is to pat (or roll) the pastry out as thin as possible, say some cooks. Others say it's the shortening -- and lots of it --that accounts for a crisp yet meltingly tender crust. But these days, the trend is to cut back on shortening and fat yet still have dessert.

Compared to a pie, which has two crusts, a cobbler, with just one crust, cuts down on cholesterol and calories.

For those who prefer a biscuit cobbler, the process begins with mixing dry ingredients, then making a well in the center, where the liquid is added. The dough is kneaded until it resembles sticky, lumpy, dumpling dough. Add too much flour and it's tough. Just enough flour is needed to make the dough roll.

* Quick fruit cobbler

Yields 8 servings.

1/2 cup water

7/8 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

4 cups quick-frozen fruit, such as red raspberries or blackberries

2 tablespoons flour

margarine to dot (optional)

pie crust, prepared or homemade

1/8 cup sugar

Boil water, sugar and cornstarch for 1 minute. Fold fruit int liquid. Put in 8-by-8-inch pan. Sprinkle flour on top and dot with margarine, if desired.

Heat oven to 425 F. Roll out pie crust and, using fancy cookie cutters, cut out various shapes. Place fancy rounds on cookie sheet and bake for 7 minutes. When done, sprinkle with sugar and carefully place over top of fruit.

Bake cobbler for 35 to 45 minutes.

* Basic biscuit fruit cobbler

Yields 6 servings.

1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup margarine

1/4 cup milk

1 slightly beaten egg

fruit filling (recipes follow)

light cream or ice cream

Heat oven to 400.

For biscuit topper, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter or margarine until coarse crumbs form. Combine milk and slightly beaten egg. Add all at once to dry ingredients, stirring just to moisten. Set mixture aside.

Pour hot fruit filling into 8 1/4 -by-1 3/4 -inch round dish. Immediately spoon on biscuit topper in 6 mounds. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm with light cream or ice cream.

(From the Better Homes and Gardens Encyclopedia of Cooking.)

Apple filling

Yields 6 servings.

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

6 cups sliced, peeled apples

Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in saucepan. Tos apples with sugar mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until apples are almost tender, about 7 minutes.

Peach filling

Yields 6 servings.

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon ground mace

4 cups sliced peaches

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon margarine

Combine brown sugar, water, cornstarch and ground mace i saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Add peaches, lemon juice and butter or margarine. Cook until peaches are hot, about 5 minutes.

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