Friday, May 8, 2009

Pies and Cobblers, pies and cobblers...

I got an email from a friend of mine, asking what's the difference between pies and cobblers? I said I had baked a peach cobbler and was getting ready to bake a blackberry cobbler, to take to a potluck. I realized that I have a very sloppy habit of calling my giant fruit pies that are baked in a 9x13 pan Cobblers....but the truth of the matter is this: IF it has a bottom pastry crust and topping or not, it is a PIE. Doesn't matter how big it is. It's still a pie. A cobbler, by its very nature, has a soft dough topping that is mixed and put on top of the hot filling and then baked some more. Almost like a dropped biscuit topping, only sweeter. They are very good, and are a quick and painless way to throw together a last minute dessert when you don't want a mess to clean up. lol Also-you can freeze poies, but not cobblers. Hope I have cleared this up a bit.

The first picture is a shot of my huge pastry board that I found at a yard sale for 2 dollars. It magnificent, even if only because it really helps to contain the mess of rolling out pastry. I often make pastry from scratch, but sometimes use the little boxes of Jiffy pastry mix if I can find it. It is very good, and saves measuring and cutting shortening into the flour and all that. You just mix 5 Tbsp. of ICE water (my tried and true trick for perfect pastry every time!). I put ice cubes and water in a coffee cup, and measure it from there. Flour, salt, shortening and ice water. Presto!--pastry.
After rolling it out, I fold it in half and transfer it to the oblong 9x13 baking dish. (BTW--you don't have to make it megalopolis sized...I do because I 1) go to a lot of big potlucks, and 2) because I made the mistake last year of freezing all my fruits in gallon bags.) Oy vey....

You can make cobblers and pies out of any fruit or fruit combinations you like. Old farm wives have historically mixed combos of whatever bits and pieces of fruits they had laying around at the tail end of harvests, like blackberry and pear, or strawberry and rhubarb, or apple and peach. I like mine baked with a singleness of purpose, for the most part. lol The frozen blackberries and the peaches both have a higher water content and so I am always erring on the side of caution when I mix the flour into the fruit. It's never been too thick. It HAS been too runny, almost like a fruit soup with a crust. lol I add sugar or not, and with peaches I add the tiniest bit of vanilla and ginger. Apple--cinnamon and nutmerg and cloves. Blackberry--no spices, just a bit of sugar, always depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Sometimes I dot the tops with butter before putting on the top crust. But sometimes I don't.
[Rereading this, I realize I am no one to teach anything about cooking. You should just come here and eat. I love to cook, because in my kitchenworld, there are no rules, and basically I am an anarchist.]

I like this crust, it looks pretty and you can make it however you want, with whatever cookie cutter you want. Roll another 2 crust pie batch of dough out, but don't roll it so thin. Then I cut the shapes out (my faves are stars. I also like angels, and xmas trees). Lay them close together on top of your pie, and then brush them with milk and sprinkle with sugar before you toss that baby in the oven at about 425 degrees.

Voila!!! It's a crowd pleaser. And you feel llike a kitchen magician, because everyone thinks making pie is such a big deal, these days, and they ooh and ahh over you.

I promise, if anyone's still reading here (I don't think I would, after all this time!!) that I am going to get back to writing here. Starting RIGHT NOW !!!!!! This stuff really is my passion...

Bon apetit!