Friday, April 13, 2012

Cobblers: Would the Real Cobbler Stand Up

What is a cobbler? It can be basically defined as a baked fruit dessert with some kind of crust to it. But, while I usually term cobbler with a biscuit crust, others will identify a cobbler with a pastry crust. Looking back through old cookbooks, most have cobblers baked as deep crust fruit pies - baked with two layers of pasty, one on top and another on the bottom.

From The St. Francis Hotel Cook Book

Here are three recipes for cobbler to try from different old books of mine. All versions below show the two-crust style. That is interesting to note as these are pretty good sources for pastry. It makes me wonder if the cobblers we now associate with have evolved into what they are now, rather than being 'authentic' But then again, I'm learning that's the way it is for most recipes. People like the crust on cobblers, so why not expand up on it? For a more modern recipe for cobbler, try the tried-and-true cobbler recipe I use. It's a biscuit-style fruit cobbler.

Paul Richards' Pastry Book by Paul Richards (1907):
Apple Cobbler
Line a deep baking pan with pie paste, and fill with stewed or raw apples, sliced, sweetened and flavored like for apple pie. Cover with a top crust, brush with egg-wash and bake. Serve with cream or wine sauce.
 Desserts by Olive M. Hulse (1912):
Peach Cobbler
Line a deep pie dish with pastry rolled a quarter of an inch thick. Fill with ripe juicy peaches, pared and quartered, adding a few of the stones. Sprinkle generously with sugar. Add two tablespoonfuls of butter cut in bits, and sufficient water to half cover the peaches. Put on top crust, pinch and prick it, and bake until the crust is nicely browned in moderate oven.
The Hotel St. Francis Cook Book by Victor Hirtzler (1919):
Apple, pear, peach or apricot. Line a deep baking pan with pie dough, fill with the chopped fruit desired, sweetened with sugar, and with a little cinnamon added, cover with a sheet of pie crust paste, brush with egg, and bake. Serve with cream or wine sauce.

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