Cobblers, simmering jewel toned fruit and syrup topped with golden brown crusts, mean comfort to me. I grew up with master peach cobbler bakers, yet thanks to a trip to New Orleans and a food find with Roxanne, I now make a strawberry cobbler each spring. It is so easy and tastes so very good.
I do not remember tasting a strawberry cobbler until the International Association of Culinary Professionals met in New Orleans in 2007. When Roxanne and I travel, we love to explore local restaurants. One of our delightful restaurant finds that year served strawberry cobbler and I savored every bite. The flavor stuck with me and I had to make one. I do mean stuck with me—and now, every time I taste one, I am transported back to that table 5 years ago and dinner with my friend. Kind of like a ruby red magic carpet ride back to a fun, relaxing evening. I don’t remember anything else I had to eat that night—but the dessert is etched in my psyche.
Now, baking one is my spring ritual. I know strawberries are available year round, but this is one time when a basket of small, sweet, ripe strawberries from the local farmers’ market can’t be beat. I know. I have tried it with the larger, typical grocery store strawberries and while good, the flavor is just not as intense and the texture is not as perfect. So hurry–the season to make one is fleeting.
Cobblers are best served warm—and yes, a scoop of ice cream is the crowning glory. To many, serving hot strawberries is a bit different. I have one daughter who loves the warm, red dessert and one of my daughters would so much rather have them cold on strawberry shortcakes. Yet, I love this warm, homey dessert and I love that it transports me back to a dinner table a few years ago and time spent with a wonderful friend. What comfort.
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, or to taste
3 -1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 cup cold water
4 to 6 cups strawberries, hulled
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons sugar, divided
1- 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold butter
2/3 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400° F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.
Combine 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, or to taste, cornstarch, and water in a saucepan. Stir well. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat, until bubbly and slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in strawberries. Pour mixture into baking dish. Dot with 2 tablespoons butter.
For crust, stir together flour, 3 teaspoons sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in 3 tablespoons butter using a pastry cutter. Stir in cream. (If dough is too thick, add an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons cream or until it makes a thick dough.) Stir just until moistened. Spoon dollops of dough over berries. Sprinkle top of cobbler lightly with remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Serve warm.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
If desired, top each serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.
This recipe is best prepared with sweet, small strawberries. If berries are larger, cut in half.