I consider myself incredibly blessed to have a family that is deeply connected and rooted to food. My parents made sure that my sisters and I were exposed to lots of different types of food and styles of cooking, and some of my fondest (and earliest) memories are the clink of dishes and hushed voices in the kitchen after a big family dinner.
Mom has always been an incredible cook and baker. If you asked her, she might say something like, "I just make what tastes good" or "It was in the fridge and I didn't want it to go bad", but let me tell you right now: the woman can cook.
It's a family joke that you have to be careful about the recipes Mom gives you (very reluctantly, I might add) because she may just 'forget' a key ingredient or measurement. The best example of this is when my sister called and asked for a recipe my Mom engineered that she calls Greek Parsley Meatballs. Mom went through the whole recipe, and my sister dutifully wrote everything down, hung up the phone...and realized Mom had completely omitted the parsley.
Now, if you were to discuss this with my mother, she would tell you that every time she makes things differently. Maybe she's out of parsley and needed to use sage, or tarragon, or basil. She might have a cup of white wine vinegar but be out of apple cider. Hence, when someone asks for a recipe, it doesn't really exist- it's an amalgam of every version of that dish she can ever remember making.
I have a problem with that, though. Sometimes, I want to make something that reminds me of Mom. I want it to fill every sense with the feeling I have when I am in the kitchen with my family- I want it to look the same, taste the same, smell the same, and feel the same when I eat it; to assuage whatever anxiety or nostalgia I'm having. And, somewhat morbidly, there will be a time when I can't cook with my mom and dad anymore- and when that sorrowful day comes, I certainly want to be able to tuck in to our favorite family meals and find the comfort in that incredible familiarity. Recipes are a way to truly live forever in close memory. I keep my grandmother's handwritten recipe cards, faded and covered in spider-webbed handwriting, just to maintain that feeling.
This cobbler has been around for as long as I can remember, literally. I'm sure my mom was making and eating it while I was in utero. It couldn't be more simple and easy to make, and every time I make it, it instantly transports me to family picnics, dinner parties, and countless celebrations. When mom gave me the recipe, it didn't taste quite the same- but I've since figured out how to make it taste just like hers. Make it a tradition around your summertime table. This dish has stood the test of time for our family, and my guess is that it will in yours, too.
One of the great things about this recipe is its simplicity. Four cups of the fruit of your choice mixed with lemon juice and sugar, topped with a simple batter of flour, milk, baking powder, and sugar in a hot pan full of melted butter.
4 cups fruit, fresh is best (see notes for my favorite combinations)
1 1/2 c. sugar, divided
Juice of 1 lemon
3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. salted butter
Preheat the oven to 350. While the oven s preheating, place your butter in the pan you will use for the cobbler (11x9) and put in the oven to melt.
Combine the fruit, lemon juice, and 3/4 c. sugar. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and the other 3/4 c. sugar. Whisk in the milk. The batter will be very thin.
Carefully pull the hot pan from the oven and pour in the fruit mixture, scraping the bowl for all the juice. Pour the batter over the top.
Cook for 40-50 minutes, until the edges are all boiling and the top is golden brown. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving, or it will be very soupy.