I’m not much for sweets, but it’s hard to beat a fresh fruit cobbler when the peaches and blueberries start coming in. I’ve tried several cobbler recipes over the years and they’ve all come up short – producing either a goopy, doughy mess at the bottom, or a tough, chewy top crust. But I’ve finally found the cobbler recipe I’ve been looking for for twenty years.
First, cream together a softened stick of butter and 1/2 cup of sugar. In another bowl, combine one cup of self-rising flour, 1/2 cup milk and your preferred amount of vanilla extract. Combine this with the butter-sugar mixture, mixing well. You’ll have something that’s too thick to be called a batter but too pourable to be called a dough. In a lightly sprayed or buttered baking dish, put 2 to 3 cups of firm, unsweetened fruit – whole blueberries or blackberries, sliced peaches, whatever you like – and spread the thick batter over it. Now the surprising part: cook together 1 1/2 cups of water and a cup of sugar, just long enough to come to a boil and dissolve the sugar. Carefully pour the sugar syrup over the top of the cobbler, and bake it at 350 degrees until the top gets a nice golden color – at least an hour, as much as 90 minutes.
Some of the sugar-water mixes with the fruit down below and makes a nice fruity syrup, and some of it soaks into the dough as it bakes and keeps it moist, resulting in a delicious, sweet, fluffy southern-style biscuit texture over the fresh fruit: the essence of cobbler-ness. Don’t forget the ice cream.