Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Load Of Cobbler

Generally I find baking cakes peaceful, relaxing, contemplative, almost meditative. As it turns out, it's not quite so easy to maintain concentration when my Dad is preparing squid behind me.

"Is that the pen? Yes, I see why that's the pen. And there's the ink sac."

"It really does have ten-tickles!"

"Rings or strips... I'll do one as rings, the other as strips."

Anyway, later on[1] Mum asked me to make a Pear Cobbler, despite last weeks fiasco with my Plum Crumble. Rather than say "I'm not sure I've actually had a Cobbler before", or make one of the obvious jokes, I said okay. It's turned out fine. Here's the recipe, cribbed from Nigel Slater's Real Good Food, with a few subtle changes by me.

Pear Cobbler
225g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons cornflour
100g cold unsalted butter
3 tablespoons caster sugar
3 tablespoons double cream
1kg pears, cored and cut up into small chunks
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoon flour
For Glazing
cream and caster sugar

Sieve the flour, baking powder and cornflour. Throw them and the butter into a food processor. Whizz it until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, whizz to mix, then add the cream until it makes a soft and crumbly dough. Obviously, you can use your hands for these steps if you don't have a machine, or are pretending it's the fifties. Chill the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes, or until needed.

Heat the oven to 190C. Mix the pear pieces, flour and sugar, and put in a large pie dish. Break up the dough into bits and press over the fruit; it doesn't have to make a continuous pie crust. brush the dough with cream, then scatter over with sugar. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes; pastry should be golden, fruit bubbling. Serves 6.

[1] As it turns out a week and a day, but I've cut the time to make this post cohere better.
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