Thursday, October 22, 2020

Life & Style

Is it a Buckle? A Cobbler? A Crisp?

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Often throughout the summer, my husband and I would visit his mother at her home in Sparta, New Jersey. When we arrived on those Friday evenings, weary after a long drive and an even longer work week, she would have her warm Blueberry Buckle waiting for us, with some Breyers vanilla ice cream to go with it for my husband. Photo courtesy of Liz Egan

Often throughout the summer, my husband and I would visit his mother at her home in Sparta, New Jersey. When we arrived on those Friday evenings, weary after a long drive and an even longer work week, she would have her warm Blueberry Buckle waiting for us, with some Breyers vanilla ice cream to go with it for my husband. (Photo courtesy of Liz Egan )

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Cobbler, second cousin to the deep-dish pie, is cooked and thickened fresh fruit ladled either under or over biscuit dough that has been slightly sweetened with sugar. Photo courtesy of Liz Egan

Cobbler, second cousin to the deep-dish pie, is cooked and thickened fresh fruit ladled either under or over biscuit dough that has been slightly sweetened with sugar. (Photo courtesy of Liz Egan )

3

Scott’s Connecticut Valley Orchard in Deep River recently was offering Macs, Cortland, Macoun, Fuji, Gala, and Mollies, which are related to Golden Delicious, although they ripen earlier. More varieties will be available later in the season. Scott’s also has a retail operation in Essex. Photo courtesy of Scott’s

Scott’s Connecticut Valley Orchard in Deep River recently was offering Macs, Cortland, Macoun, Fuji, Gala, and Mollies, which are related to Golden Delicious, although they ripen earlier. More varieties will be available later in the season. Scott’s also has a retail operation in Essex. (Photo courtesy of Scott’s )

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Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market in Guilford, during a recent week, had late season raspberries were available for picking, along with the very last of the peaches. They sometimes offer pears, apples, and pumpkins as well. Photo courtesy of Bishop’s

Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market in Guilford, during a recent week, had late season raspberries were available for picking, along with the very last of the peaches. They sometimes offer pears, apples, and pumpkins as well. (Photo courtesy of Bishop’s )

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While pick your peaches might soon be over, area farm markets still might have some in stock on shelves. Photo courtesy of Bishop’s

While pick your peaches might soon be over, area farm markets still might have some in stock on shelves. (Photo courtesy of Bishop’s )

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While pick your peaches might soon be over, area farm markets still might have some in stock on shelves. Photo courtesy of Bishop’s

While pick your peaches might soon be over, area farm markets still might have some in stock on shelves. (Photo courtesy of Bishop’s )

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Bishop’s in Guilford is a good source of a wide variety of apples throughout the fall and winter. Photo courtesy of Bishop’s

Bishop’s in Guilford is a good source of a wide variety of apples throughout the fall and winter. (Photo courtesy of Bishop’s )

This time of year, I am always anxious to create with fresh fruit. When I was a child, we had grape vines in the backyard and September was always time to make jelly. After we picked blueberries from the woods down the street, yummy muffins would appear. Fruit was plentiful and versatile in my home when I was growing up.

As an adult living on the Connecticut shoreline, I continue to enjoy the abundance of fresh fruits in season. Still, there has been a related issue that has always confused me.

Is it a cobbler, a buckle, or a crisp?

What’s the difference?

Now that the Connecticut shoreline and Connecticut River valley have slipped into fall, I answered that question by baking one of each. I learned a little more about them, and I was reminded of something I knew already, that no matter what fruit you love best, you can enjoy more of it by making a buckle, a cobbler, or a crisp.

Depending on what’s in season, you can swap fruits in and out, or mix and match them.

And, don’t stop there! Pies, tarts, jams, jellies, salsas, and chutneys are some of the many fun ways to enjoy the warm smell of fruit filling up your kitchen after a chilly day of picking fruit at a local farm.

Get Off to a Great Start

It’s best to start with the freshest of fresh fruit. There is plenty of fresh fruit to play with from many area farms that offer locally grown and pick-your-own produce. All of the farms have specific guidelines and rules that visitors must follow, particularly as we all strive to help keep each other safe and healthy. So visit these places online and on their social media accounts first, to review these guidelines. Also, call first to make sure they are open and to see what is being offered. Local pick-your-own options include:

• Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market, 1355 Boston Post Road, Guilford. During a recent week, late season raspberries were available for picking, along with the very last of the peaches. It sometimes offers pears, apples, and pumpkins as well. Always be sure to call the 24/7 PYO info line first at 203-458-7425.

• Rose’s Orchards Farm, 33 Branford Road, North Branford. Hours are generally 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Containers are provided. Apples, peaches, raspberries, and pumpkins are sometimes available. The phone number is 203-488-79996.

• Scott’s Connecticut Valley Orchard, 274 Kelsey Hill Road, Deep River. Weather permitting, open for pick your own from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday, Oct. 31. Call 860-526-9633 for picking information. It recently was offering Macs, Cortland, Macoun, Fuji, Gala, and Mollies, which are related to Golden Delicious, although they ripen earlier. More varieties will be available later in the season. Scott’s also has a retail location at 81 Plains Road, Essex, which sells fresh fruits and vegetables grown in Deep River, and from its fields in Essex.

• Lyman Orchards, 32 Reeds Gap Road, Middlefield. Lyman was recently offering peaches, apples, Asian pears, Bosc pears, pumpkins, and squash flowers, with pick your own fields open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with last entry into the fields at 4:30 p.m. Find out more by calling 860-349-1793.

A Warm Blueberry Buckle Waiting

Often throughout the summer, my husband and I would visit his mother at her home in Sparta, New Jersey. When we arrived on those Friday evenings, weary after a long drive and an even longer work week, she would have her warm blueberry buckle waiting for us, with some Breyers vanilla ice cream to go with it for my husband. She explained that a buckle is like a coffee cake. The fruit is mixed into the cake with a cinnamon-y crumb topping. This recipe was handed down in her family and naturally, was from scratch.

Blueberry Buckle from Phyllis B. Egan

 

Ingredients:

For the cake:

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup shortening

1 egg

½ cup milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained

 

For the topping:

¼ cup shortening

½ cup sugar

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp cinnamon (or more!)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour one 8” x 8” Pyrex dish or pan

Cream together sugar and shortening.

In a 2-cup measuring cup, add egg to milk and whisk thoroughly.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir into sugar mixture, alternating with milk mixture, until all are combined.

Stir in (do not mix) fresh blueberries. Pour into greased and floured pan.

Make topping. In a bowl, combine shortening, sugar, flour, and cinnamon with two knives or knife and fork until it is the consistency of small peas. Sprinkle over cake batter.

Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

My Mom’s Apple Crisp, Something Special on the Side

My mother loved apple crisp. I can still see her peeling those apples in one long strip. Cinnamon and sugar over the apples. Dollops of butter. Fruit laid directly into a Pyrex dish with a crumbly topping that crisped up as the sugar caramelized when baking. My mother used tons of oatmeal in her “crisp-y” topping. But what made it super special was that she would serve it warm with hard sauce. Hard sauce? It was her children called the sweet concoction of butter, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and a little “top of bottle” cream that had been hardened overnight in a dish and then little pieces scraped onto the warm crisp to melt when served. My mouth waters just thinking about it. For this recipe, I love Winesap apples when I can get them. Scott’s in Essex sometimes has the Winesaps. Cortlands are also great.

 

Apple Crisp from Virginia D. Bermel

 

Ingredients:

6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more!)

1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces

 

Topping:

½ cup butter

¼ cup flour

¼ cup sugar

¼ oatmeal (or more!)

1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more!)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter one 8” x 8” Pyrex dish or pie plate

In a large bowl place cut up apple. Mix cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. Pour over the apples and coat thoroughly. Place apples in buttered dish. Top with butter pieces.

Mix together all ingredients for topping with fork or pastry tool. Sprinkle topping over the top of apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes our until topping is crispy. Serve warm with hard sauce, ice cream, or whipped cream.

Hard Sauce

Lots of recipes for British hard sauce serve it as a creamy spread. My mother kept it in the fridge and scraped a teaspoonful onto our warm apple crisp. I can’t say whether she used a liquor, but that does add something, as does vanilla extract.

 

½ stick of butter

6 to 8 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon (or more, to taste) cognac, rum, Scotch, Irish whiskey, or any other spirit or vanilla extract

 

Cream butter and sugar. Slowly add extract until desired consistency and taste.

Refrigerate in a small dish. Scrape off swirl with a teaspoon. Also delicious on toast.

Cobbler: Irma and Marion Come Through Again

With the buckle and crisp questions settled, and with peaches in season, I tried my own hand at peach cobbler recently. Cobbler, second cousin to the deep-dish pie, is cooked and thickened fresh fruit ladled either under or over biscuit dough that has been slightly sweetened with sugar. The question of how best to cook a cobbler proved the most challenging. The first time I tried it, I put the dough on the bottom of the pan and I overcooked it. The dough was mushy and the top was burnt. Then, I followed a classic recipe from that tried and true venerable classic The Joy of Cooking, where the gently cooked and thickened fruit was on the bottom and dollops of freshly made dough dotted the top. It took half the time to bake and was amazing! I have had my Joy of Cooking book since 1981 and it looks it, too! It is falling apart and has more than a few food stains, but I count on it. If I am not sure, or I want a place to get started, I go there. The recipes always work and are easily modified later for specialty tastes.

 

Peach Cobbler adapted from The Joy of Cooking

by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker

 

Ingredients:

3 cups prepared peaches, peeled, cored, sliced

2/3 cups sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour or 1 beaten egg

butter and cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine in a saucepan and heat: 3 cups prepared peaches [peeled, cored, sliced), 2/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour or 1 beaten egg. If using flour, allow the mixture to boil. If using egg, stir until it thickens somewhat, but do not allow to boil.

Lightly butter one 8” x 8” Pyrex dish or pie plate. Fold the thickened fruit into the bottom of the dish. Dollop with butter and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon (or more!) cinnamon.

 

Fluffy Biscuit Dough (half recipe)

Ingredients

¾ cup and 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoon double acting baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 to 3 tablespoons chilled butter or shortening,

or a combination of both

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon milk

 

Ice cream or whipped cream for serving

 

In a bowl combine: ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 ½ teaspoon double acting baking powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, ½ tsp. salt.

Add: 2 to 3 tablespoons chilled butter or shortening or a combination of both. Cut solid shortening or butter into flour with knives. Make a well into the center.

Add, all at once: ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon milk

Stir until the dough is fairly free from the sides of the bowl.

Divide the dough into about 6 pieces and dot the top of the fruit with it.

Bake 15 minutes or so, until the biscuit dough is lightly browned and cooked through.

Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.







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