Monday, 8 August 2016

A load of cobblers - fruit recipes for summer puddings


The 'cobbler' is, in my view, an American version of the 'crumble'. Both contain this food equation:


 fruit + flour + sugar + butter 

So acidity plus grain/fibre/carb (or grass, for wheat is grass seed) plus sweetness and fat. 
The crumble is probably Britain's most popular pud (according to my mini-survey on Twitter a few years ago). We think of it as ancient dish but The Oxford Companion to Food says that crumble exists only since World War 2, as a response to rationing. 
The cobbler reminds me of scones on fruit or 'biscuits' as the Americans call them. The top looks almost like a bumpy cobbled street with stewed hot fruit bleeding into the sweet dumplings. It's a pudding associated with the southern states, making great use of seasonal fruit such as the peach. August is Peach Month in the U.S. and Georgia is known as the 'peach state'. (My recipe for Peach Tea.)
Here are a couple of recipes: a peach cobbler (as seen in Metro) and a cherry corn cobbler, which I made on my visit to Norfolk while staying at the Lake Fritton Woodland Lodges.

Peach cobbler recipe

Serves 4-6

Level: easy

Equipment: 20cm round baking dish

For the fruit base:
6 peaches, skinned, pitted, quartered (easy to skin with a small sharp knife)
1 tbsp vanilla paste
Zest and juice of 1 lime
50g maple sugar, coconut sugar or demerara sugar

For the 'cobbled' topping:
50g macadamia nuts or candlenuts, crushed
100g self raising flour
Pinch of salt
50g sugar of your choice (as above or white sugar)
100g salted butter


  1. Preheat your oven to 200ºC.
  2. Toss the peaches with the rest of the fruit base ingredients into the baking dish. 
  3. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. 
  4. Make the topping by combining the nuts, flour, salt, sugar and butter together in a bowl and rubbing the butter into the dry mixture until its texture resembles rough breadcrumbs. 
  5. Remove the baked peaches from the oven.
  6. Using a tablespoon, make 6 mounded spoonfuls of the 'cobbled' topping and place them on top of the fruit base. 
  7. Bake for 20 minutes at 180ºC.
  8. Serve with vanilla ice cream or double cream. 

Cherry Corn Cobbler recipe (gluten free)

This corn version of the cobbler is even more American in that it uses a kind of cornbread topping.  It has a slightly crunchier texture than the ordinary flour version. 

Serves 6

Level: easy

Equipment: 25cm round baking dish

For the fruit base:
750g fresh cherries (sweet or sour), pitted, de-stemmed
1 tbsp vanilla paste
1 heaped tbsp arrow root or cornflour
1/2 tsp salt
50g light brown sugar
Juice of half a lemon (if using sweet cherries)

For the 'cobbled' topping:
150g masa harina flour
100g sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt
80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125ml buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat your oven to 200ºC.
  2. Toss the cherries with the rest of the fruit base ingredients into a baking dish. 
  3. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. 
  4. Make the topping by combining the masa, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, in a bowl or food processor.
  5. Add the butter and process until it looks like breadcrumbs if using a food processor. If doing by hand use cool fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients, again until it looks like breadcrumbs.
  6. Then add the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract to the topping mixture.
  7. Remove the baked cherries from the oven.
  8. Using a tablespoon, make 6 to 8 mounded spoonfuls of the 'cobbled' topping and place them on top of the fruit base. 
  9. Bake for 20 minutes at 180ºC.
  10. Serve with vanilla ice cream or double cream. 
Cherry Corn Cobbler
peach cobbler

4 comments:

  1. Gorgeous puddings. My mind is blown at learning that crumbles only came into being during WW2. So many centuries without crumble and custard - a missed opportunity for generations.

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  2. I know! You kind of think they were served at medieval banquets and stuff... or in caves...

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  3. I love cobblers! used to make them when I used to eat cake .. so delicious and I prefer it to a crumble. Went to an american style BBQ sunday and the host made a vegetable savoury cobbler, with corn meal... so good!

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  4. I was thinking a savoury one would be interesting to make....great idea.

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