Tuesday, September 23, 2008

#91. Pick apples and make a cobbler (and recipe 5 of 6)

I've always loved fresh baked goods. My mom was always great at making them (sometimes to the detrement of our waistlines). So, what's a better way to welcome autumn than to get out and enjoy all that nature has to offer by picking some ripe, juicy apples? That's just what Troy and I decided to do on Saturday morning.

We hitched up the steeds (our motorcycles), checked the maps (actually my GPS), and heading for greener pastures (orchards) just southwest of Indianapolis in Mooresville, IN. The weather was simply perfect and we made sure to pack some bags to haul the fruit of our labors home. After all, not everyone sets out to pick apples on motorcycles. Actually, the orchard was quite busy and we were the ONLY ones to arrive on motorcycles. You should have seen the looks we received! :-)

After consulting with one of the men working there on what varieties of apples would make the best cobbler, we headed toward the Jonathons and Cortlands. I've never actually heard of Cortlands, but they are a VERY good apple which tended to be larger than the Jonathons.

We scanned the rows which were nicely labeled for ease, found what we were looking for and headed towards the trees further from the road as we assumed they would be less picked over. We were right and before we knew it had picked a peck (actually a 1/2 a bushel). It came in quite handy to have Troy around as he's much taller than me and some of the best apples were higher up on the trees.

When we had finished picking the apples and had packed them on the bikes, we decided to check out the little store that they had there. There were lots of already-picked apples for those less adventurous souls who weren't in the mood to check out the trees for themselves as well as pumpkins and baked goods. We decided that our hard work (not really) had earned us a bit of a treat. Troy opted for a water while I tried their apple cider slushy. We split a very cake-like elephant ear. YUM!

Armed with my apple booty, I set to make the apple cobbler. It was amazingly easy. Having never made one, I wasn't sure how difficult it would be, but I had no problems. The most time-consuming part was actually peeling and coring the apples. Luckily I have a great peeler and apple corer/cutter. With the right tools, it's a breeze. In less than an hour, I had a lovely apple cobbler. Since Troy doesn't like fruit (apples apparently taste like grass. Who knew?) and I don't need to eat a whole cobbler, I took it into work and shared. It got rave reviews and even enticed someone who never eats the "kitchen treats" to try a bit. She said it was amazing.

The only problem I have now is that I still have quite a few apples left. So far, I've made 2 cobblers (took the other one down to Troy's family), an apple crisp (to be enjoyed at my church meeting tonight) and given away 8 apples. I still have about 30 apples left, I think. Anyone have any good recipes or ideas?

If you'd like to try to make one of your own, here's the recipe. It's from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook or you can find it online here (http://www.bhg.com/recipe/desserts/cherry-cobbler/). I would double the topping next time. Enjoy!

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
6 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened pitted tart red cherries
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
Vanilla ice cream (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. For topping, in a medium bowl stir together flour, the 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, salt, and, if desired, cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside.

2. For filling, in a large saucepan combine the cherries, the 1 cup sugar, and the cornstarch. Cook over medium heat until cherries juice out, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Keep filling hot.

3. In a small bowl stir together egg and milk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just to moisten. Transfer hot filling to a 2-quart square baking dish. Using a spoon, immediately drop topping into six mounds on top of filling.

4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until topping is golden brown. If desired, serve warm with ice cream.

5. Makes 6 servings

6. Apple or Pear Cobbler: Prepare as above, except, for filling, cook and stir 6 cups sliced, cored, and peeled cooking apples or pears, 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice until boiling, stirring occasionally once fruit begins to juice out; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes or until fruit is almost tender, stirring occasionally. Combine 2 tablespoons water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch; add to filling. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.

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