Sunday, July 3, 2011

Farmer's Market Finds: Mulberry Cobbler

I wanted to start a new short series for summer, and with the addition of a Farmer's Market to this sleepy little town, it seemed like a great fit. A lot of folks around here grow their own produce and don't just grow your typical tomatoes and carrots, they grow some other 'oddities' too. I thought it would be fun to find recipes for these 'oddities' and share them with you!

This week, I talked my mom into picking up two baskets of mulberries. The mulberry isn't actually a berry -- berries grow on bushes, and a mulberry is a type of tree. They look a little like blackberries but don't have as many seeds, and the stem is integrated into the fruit itself, so you can't remove them easily. This isn't a huge problem, because the stems are very small and tender and will bake right into whatever you're making.

I picked a recipe for Crispy Mulberry Cobbler off of Key Ingredient, a website that lets you look up the main ingredient for your dish and find several results for it. I liked this recipe because it seemed to promise that the mulberries wouldn't come out mushy. They're a very soft fruit and very small, so it was important for me to maintain some of their integrity. If I had just used them as a replacement for blackberries I don't know that they would have held up as well. Plus, the recipe called for minimal ingredients, so it was easy to make with things I had around the house. I really do prefer 'simple' food. My notes are in italics.

Crispy Mulberry Cobbler, from Key Ingredient (submitted anonymously)

1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp sugar (this would be an excellent place to use raw sugar)
3 cups mulberries (the recipe recommends Persian mulberries but I don't know the difference...)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup butter

Start by rinsing your mulberries in ice water. I stored mine for 2 days in an airtight container in the fridge, to slow down any aphids. After pulling them out, I dumped the whole batch in freezing water and  drained with a colander, repeating twice. The berries have little nooks and crannies so be sure to rinse well, just to get any teeny bugs out. I then moved the berries to a glass bowl. Don't dry them off, since you're going to dump the 1 tbsp flour and 1 tbsp sugar in there and you want it to stick. Mix up the berries with these two dry ingredients evenly distributed -- set aside.

In another bowl, take the cup of flour, sugar, and baking powder, and mix. Soften the butter a little in your microwave -- don't melt it, just make it easier to move around. Crack and beat your egg, then add the butter into the bowl with dry ingredients. I used a spatula to mix them all together -- mix until it seems like it's just not going to blend, and it looks crumbly and fairly dry. Dump in your slightly beaten egg, and mix so that everything is moistened.

Take an 8-inch baking dish and grease it. I like to use Baker's Joy because it 'greases' a pan without making it seem greasy -- just a light dusting of flour, really, to keep it from sticking. Then dump your berry mixture in, distributing it evenly along the bottom of the pan. Next, using your hands, crumble your dough mixture over the top as evenly as possible (no need to be perfect). I sprinkled the top of my cobbler with sanding sugar so it will look extra crisp and pretty when it comes out of the oven.

Bake at 350 F for 30 - 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for a bit before serving, or until you can cover it and set it aside for later! We served ours with vanilla ice cream, and I would have had pictures, but it was eaten much too fast.

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