Sunday, October 11, 2009
Sal's Blueberry Cobbler
It was only a year or two ago that I learned that Robert McCloskey, author of Make Way for Ducklings (which is the state book of Massachusetts, by the way), is a sort of regional flavor. McCloskey wrote eight books and illustrated 10 others, and statues based on Make Way for Ducklings are a must-see when in the Boston Public Gardens. My mother read us his books at the same time as Dr. Seuss's, so I always assumed that everybody knew him... and yet, any time I ask somebody who isn't from New England if they've read his work, they say, "who?" Which is a cryin' shame, if you ask me, because these books are a treat.
But this post isn't about Make Way for Ducklings at all. In fact, it's not even based on a recipe from a book - it's inspired by a book. Ok, I know that's kinda cheating. But after you taste this, I think you'll forgive me.
Blueberries for Sal is a story about a little girl named Sal and her mother, who go blueberry picking on a hill. Sal's mother tells her to put the berries she picks in her bucket - "plink plank plunk" - so they can save them for winter. On the other side of the hill we find a mother bear, who tells her cub to eat as many berries as she can to fatten up for winter. At one point, Sal and the bear cub each end up with the wrong mother, which is very scary for all involved, but - spoiler! - they're all ok in the end. Sal and her mother go home and make jam. But as I said, I didn't make the food in the book, since I'm saving jam for another story. I made blueberry cobbler instead. With bears in it.
Sal's Blueberry Cobbler
4 1/2 cups berries (I used all blueberries; it goes well with the theme)
4 tbsp. sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups butter (that's 3 sticks)
Handful of bear-shaped graham crackers
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a large bowl, mix berries and sugar. Set aside.
3. In another large bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in the butter into this mixture with two knives (or squish with your fingers! Wash your hands first).
4. Press half the mixture into a 9x13, or two 8x8, pans. Cover with berry mixture, then crumble remaining crumblies on top. Sprinkle bears on top, or push them into the cobbler so they're swimming in gooey deliciousness.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until berries are bubbly and topping is golden brown.
I found a version of this recipe on allrecipes.com, under the name "triple berry crisp," which obviously uses more than just blueberries. I love that it has both a top and a bottom crust, because the crust is half the fun of a cobbler. There is a lot of butter in this, so don't fool yourself that this is healthy because it has fruit... but for a special occasion, and for a taste like this, a lot of butter is ok.
And look how happy the bears are! If I could swim in a pool of blueberry goo, I'd be happy, too.