Friday, March 9, 2007

Hunka-Hunka-Burnin' Cobbler

OR: The longest hour of my life

It was my parents' first visit up to NC to see my husband and me since we'd moved in. Little known fact about me: I like to have something baking when people come over. It makes the house smell good and lets them know you are, well, baking for them. So I decided to make my favorite cobbler recipe for Mom and Dad... Only one problem -- the 9 x 13 x 2" dish I normally used to create this concoction was busy (read: filthy dirty and I was too lazy to hand-wash it; ergo it stayed right in the dishwasher where I finally located it). So instead, defying all laws of physics and cullinary skill, I opted to substitute the 9 x 13" pan with a PIE PLATE. That's right... I was going to try and fit the same amount of cobblery goodness which normally requires the largest baking pan I own into a 9" pie plate. I think my faulty logic somehow was related to the number "9" -- I figured the plate could handle both 9" pie plate and 9 x 13" pan were utilizing the number "9" (I am NOT good at math. Or physics, clearly).

So I was dusting when I realized that the kitchen was filled with smoke. I turned on the oven light and noticed that the cobbler was angrily overflowing it's tiny vessel much like I was overflowing my size 6 bikini panties those days. The cobbler had turned into a gooey muffin-top, and the goo was dripping right onto the lower burner, which actually was sending up small burst of flames as the goo would land. Now, rather than remove the cobbler, for fear of the flame bursts, I decided to instead just leave it and hope for everything to work out for the best. Perhaps the cobbler would miraculously heal itself. So for 20 more minutes, I anxiously stared into the oven's window. The miracle never happened, and the smoke started to make my eyes water. Oh hell, I thought. Please note, at this point, my parents were about 20 minutes away and my house smelled like a big fat burning cobbler. So finally, I overcame my fear of those little flame bursts and opened the oven door. Smoke poured into my kitchen. I flung the pie plate into the sink and gushed water over it, causing even MORE smoke. My husband walked in and sighed. But he did very nicely offer to fan the smoke from the house as I ran to the Harris Teeter for another dessert. All ended well, though my parents and husband teased me mercilessly. What I was most upset about was, tragically, the fact that they didn't get to taste my really awesome cobbler.

But now you can. Just make sure you use a 9 x 13 x 2 " pan. NO EXCUSES. In fact, that's what I'm renaming this cobbler.

The 9x13x2 Cobbler.

Preheat your oven to 350 and then set out 2 C. of milk to let get to room temp.

1 stick butter, melted
3 1/2 C. fresh berries
16 oz. Frozen berries -- any variety, or a mix is nice. If using this frozen option, get the bag out when you set out the milk to let thaw a little bit.
2 C. room temp. milk
2 C. sugar
2 C. self-rising flour (OR regular flour with 1 tsp. salt and 3 tsp of baking powder mixed in to make it self-rising; You can do this any time, the standard is: for each Cup of flour, add 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt)

Pour the melted butter into the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2" pan. DO NOT SUBSTITUTE.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar and flour, then the room temp. milk. Mix will be liquidy and lumpy. Pour this mix on top of the butter, but don't let them get too combined. It will settle on it's own, just resist the urge to touch it. Then add your fruit. The more fruit you use, the less crust, and vice versa. And if you use the max or more amount of fruit, then a single serving is only 200 calories. So use your own discretion. And again, don't try to mix it all up in the pan. Just put it all in there and leave well enough alone.

Bake until golden brown on top and bubbly at the sides (about 1 hour). Sift powdered sugar on top for a pretty presentation, and always serve warm. This is super good with french vanilla or butter pecan ice cream.

It makes 10 -- 12 servings and refrigerates perfectly. JUST USE THE RIGHT PAN.

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