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justdafacts James Beards Berry Cobbler When I was a kid in the seventies, Early American was a home dcor

trend like Nantucket Rustic Pottery Barn Inspired Beach House is today. People had blue wallpaper with little cartoon fifes & drums and three-cornered hats; somehow fake beams were part of the look; and there was the obligatory long turned-wood shafted brass bed warmer by the fireplace. Blame it on the Bicentennial, of course. Im reminded of this every summer when good blueberries get cheap enough to buy by the quart (and sun ripened wild blackberries are plentiful and free) because I learned how to make cobbler from a column James Beard used to write for American Airlines in-flight magazine. Years after Bicentennial fever faded, the unpretentious giant of American gastronomy wrote Cobblers: A Buckle is a Slump is a Grunt in 1,500 words or less, recalling the Bicentennial interest in colonial fare. I was in junior high school then, already experimenting on the grill with the snappers my brother and I would catch from the dock at Cold Spring Harbor of Billy Joel fame, but I read that column as a young adult in 1993 in a slim posthumous anthology called James Beards Simple Foods : 40 Cooking Lessons by Americas Greatest Cook. If you like to cook and you havent read James Beard, you should. He didnt often write out recipes in conventional format like I did below. Instead he wrote, Now lets proceed with the crust. Measure 3 even cups of all-purpose flour, using adry measuring cup. Always use the metal measuring cups for dry ingredientsbecause.. In case you have just enough time to run out for a few blister packs of good cheap blueberries or a bucket full of wild blackberries but not enough time to hunt down this good book, heres the recipe: 1 qt berries (thats two pint sized containers from the market or enough from your neighbors yard to fill a deep 5x9 pan)

1 c sugar + c sugar Pinch of salt + tsp salt 3 c flour 6 tbs butter (cold!) 2 tsp baking powder c to 1 c heavy cream 1 egg yolk
1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. This is a terrible thing to do in summertime, but the cobbler is so good its worth turning your kitchen into a sauna for a little while. 2. Rinse, bug check, and drain the berries, then dump them into a deep 5x9 pan (not as deep as a loaf pan). If you dont have a ceramic pan from Italy like the one my Aunt Judy gave my wifeHa!use a similarly sized Pyrex pan or a quiche pan or tatin pan. 3. Spoon 1 cup of sugar over the berries and gently crush them with a potato masher. 4. Dump 3 cups of flour into a big bowl. You dont have to sift the flour, but you should scoop it into a metal measuring cup and level it off, then dump it into the bowl. 5. Dice 6 tablespoons of cold butter, add to the bowl with the flour and blend with a pastry knife until the mixture resembles coarse sand. 6. Mix in the cup of sugar, teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of baking powder. Check the expiration date of your baking powder. 7. Add about cup of heavy cream and mix by hand to form a slightly sticky mass. Dont knead it. Add a little bit more heavy cream if its too dry. 8. You dont have to roll out the dough. Just stretch it by hand into a rectangle and work it over the top of your pan to cover the berries and just over the edges of the pan. 9. In a little bowl mix about a tablespoon of heavy cream with an egg yolk. There are silly ways to separate eggs with and without equipment specially designed for that purpose, but thats for the salt your eggplant slices and let them drain in a colander crowd. No

doubt James Beard used to just crack an egg into his hand and let the white slip through his fingers then toss the yolk into the little bowl. Brush the egg wash all over the dough. Slit the dough 3 times with a sharp knife, parting the sides so theyll stay apart to vent the steam while baking. 10. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes; reduce to 350 degrees and cook about 15 minutes more until the crust is nicely golden. You cant dry out this crust because the liquid from the berries keeps the bottom half of the crust soggy, but you can burn it if you leave it in too long. 11. Remove from the oven and let sit until it cools to room temperature or slightly warmer. I serve it in a soup plate. Youll need a knife to cut the crust into servings, a big slotted spoon to transfer the servings into the soup plates, and a spoon to scoop up the not quite syrupy liquid.

This desert doesnt need anything like whipped cream or ice cream, but its really good with a wedge of sharp cheddar or parmgiano reggiano, si ti piace. Bonus to any Maryland political junkie who has read thus far..Once when I was in the Towson Fourth of July parade with what used to be called the 9-4-2 Democratic Club, a certain politician showed everyone where to get wild blackberries, right by the spot where we were cueing up to march. Ever the geeky, what a ragtag bunch we must have looked like, all burrs and brambles and blackberry stains, following the thick red skirted Republican Women formation. Email me if you think you know the identity of the berry savvy politician.