This is the third post of author Ellen Hawley who has enjoyed a wonderfully varied career before leaving the United States to settle in Cornwall. We brought back several recipes from our time of living in Houston that we could not bear to leave behind. Desserts are an art in America.. and pumpkin pie is one that I have happy memories about. Here Ellen shares a recipe for another family favourite.
Recipe – Peach or blackberry cobbler: an American recipe by Ellen Hawley
One of the small joys of living in the U.K. is messing with British cooking. In the interest of which, I’d like to share an American recipe with you: peach (or blackberry if you prefer) cobbler. And if you live in the U.S., you’re still welcome to it.
I’m not actually from cobbler country. I’m a New Yorker by birth and a Minnesotan by I’m not sure what but whatever it was it lasted many long years. Wild Thing, however, is from Texas so over the years I’ve learned some Southern cooking. Not from her—the only things she likes to cook involve meat—but because it’s fun to feed her something she can get sentimental about.
The recipe’s is adapted from Trilla Pando’s collection of recipes and interviews, Stirring up memories all the time, which I can’t find online anywhere, new or used, or I’d give you a link. I’d tell you how good the book is, but it would be cruel.
I am, as anyone who’s been reading Notes for a while knows, hopeless with numbers and thoroughly unsystematic, so you’ll find a certain, um, flexibility in some of the measurements. If that worries you, remember that the recipe has survived my numerical incompetence, so it should survive almost anything you can do to it. Except maybe tossing in a half pound of bacon, or some coffee grounds.
A warning: This cobbler (assuming you leave out the bacon and the coffee grounds) has a way of disappearing quickly—it really is good—and I’ve tried doubling the recipe and baking it in a larger dish, but the center never baked through. If you’re going to double it, use two smaller pans.
Peach or blackberry cobbler
- 4 cups of fruit (or a bit more; I always add more; if you’re using peaches, it’s about 7)
- 1 to 1½ cups sugar, divided
- 2 to 4 ounces butter
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ cup milk (whole or 2%, which is called semi-skimmed in the U.K.)
Heat the oven to 350 F. That’s more or less 175 c. Don’t worry about it–it’s close enough. Set a square baking dish (anywhere between 8” and 9” square will do) inside it to heat.
The original recipe has you sprinkle ½ a cup of sugar on the fruit and set it aside for half an hour or so. I don’t bother. It’s sweet enough already. So if you leave that out, you’ll only need a single cup of sugar. If you’re using peaches, slice or chop them. Melt the butter. Sift the dry ingredients together, or measure them out and use a whisk to mix them. As far as I can tell, the whisk works just as well as sifting.
Pour the butter into the baking dish once it’s hot, then convince the batter in on top of it. It’s thick, so this is awkward, but spread it around as best you can. Then spread the fruit on top of that. The batter will rise up through the fruit as if bakes.
Bake for 50 minutes or until the center’s set. Test it with a knife to make sure it’s fully set. If it isn’t, toss it back in the oven (okay, okay, slide it back in the oven) until it is.
Serve plain or with cream or yogurt.
Trilla, if you’re reading this, thanks.
@Ellen Hawley 2015
About the Divorce Diet
“Food and love and loss and resilience . . . are Hawley’s recipe for a slyly entertaining and heartening novel” (Daniel Menaker, author of The Treatment).
Abigail is sure the only thing standing between her and happiness is the weight she gained along with her beloved new baby. Until she instantly loses 170 pounds of husband.
When Thad declares that “this whole marriage thing” is no longer working (after commenting about how she’s turning into a bit of a pudge), a shell-shocked Abigail takes her infant daughter, Rosie, and moves back to her parents’ house.
Thrown for a loop as a suddenly single new mom, she hunts for guidance in her latest weight-loss book, treating its author as her imaginary personal guru. But as Abigail follows the book’s advice, she begins to rediscover her love of cooking. Her diets have pushed her toward fat-free, joy-free foods, and her mother’s kitchen is filled with instant, frozen, and artificially flavored fare. It’s time for Abigail to indulge her own tastes—and write her own recipe for a good life . . .
Bitingly funny and wise, with bonus recipes included, this novel is an ode to food and self-discovery for any woman who’s ever walked away from a relationship—or a diet—to find what true satisfaction is all about.
“Revenge is sweet. Reinventing yourself . . . is even sweeter.” —Cathy Lamb, author of If You Could See What I See
One of the reviews for the book
The style of this book seems simple and repetitive at first glance, but I was never bored. The style put me into the reality of Abigail as she goes through having been rejected by her husband and dealing with her new situation. The humor sprinkled in liberally made me laugh out loud more than any book I can recall. I knew from the author’s blog that I enjoy her humor, and I was not let down with this book. The style is very different and very good for this story. It leads the reader through this time of change with the crazy thoughts, the fears and trials, and the tenderness of love that holds her together. I felt it along with her.
Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LEU4QX2/
Also by Ellen Hawley
Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Ellen-Hawley/e/B001JRULZW
And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ellen-Hawley/e/B001JRULZW
Also available at Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Ellen+Hawley
Read more reviews and follow Ellen on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/567079.Ellen_Hawley
About Ellen Hawley
Ellen Hawley has worked as an editor and copy editor, a talk-show host, a cab driver, a waitress, a janitor, an assembler, a file clerk, and for four panic-filled hours, a receptionist. She has also taught creative writing. She was born and raised in New York, lived in Minnesota for many long, cold winters, and now lives in Cornwall, U.K.
Connect to Ellen
My thanks to Ellen for allowing me to access her archives and share with you. Many more posts to enjoy on her blog. Thanks Sally.