• filling:
  • 2 cups rinsed, fresh blueberries
  • 4 cups sliced peaches and plums (about 2 of each, if they're large)
  • 1/3c sugar
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • zest of half of one lemon
  • 2 big pinches (about 1 tsp) of cornstarch
  • pinch of sea salt
  • topping:
  • 1/2c unsweetened, unflavored almond milk
  • 1 1/2tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/4c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4c sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 6 tbsp melted Earth Balance/margarine/butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup

Ah, summertime. Peaches and berries and sweat and sun-brewed iced tea and swimming and probably more sweat. You are almost over, and I hardly realized you were here ! So much has happened, and I’m trying my best to take advantage of the good parts of summer (like the fruit !) before it’s too late.

After a much needed and amazing vacation to my home in Virginia and to the home of my wonderful ladies in San Francisco, I am back to the grind. Hot, early mornings making muffins and weirdly-shaped batards in the kitchen of Bakery Normand has given way to job hunting as the owners have decided to shut the bakery down on September 1st for good. I have mixed feelings. I’m so happy for Bob and Patty, my bosses, and the owners of Bakery Normand. They’re going to have their first normal Thanksgiving and Christmas in over 30 years. They’re going to sleep in on Tuesday morning, and stay up late on Monday nights ! In closing the bakery, they are setting themselves free from a routine that has probably become stale and challenging as the years go by. But now I feel like I’m losing a part of the identity I established for myself after graduating college. My first baking position, my first good job–the first job I was ever excited to go to and to tell people about–is about to be gone. I’m searching all over town for new food jobs, hoping I can find something that is as fun and special to me as my time at Bakery Normand has been. I’m so thankful that Bob and Patty are letting me and my other coworkers go with as much respect and compassion as they have always had for us, but it is still a big pill to swallow.

So between working hard, disorienting myself with a bit of excellent travel, taking my boyfriend to the ER (he’s fine), and losing my job, I’ve been a little more than stressed. And despite the heat, all I really have wanted to do this past week is bake and keep myself from worrying.  Enter cobbler.

As a native Virginian, I have had my share of experiences with the stuff. I remember eating peach cobbler in Winchester, Virginia when I was little. Mostly, I just remember people saying “peach cobbler” with their Southern-tinged accents. Now, people’s idea of what a cobbler is seem to vary, but let’s make this clear. It is not a crumble. It is not a crisp. There is no oatmeal thing getting sprinkled on top. Cobblers are a Southern treat, so obviously there are biscuits involved. Warm, bubbling, gooey fruit with light, cakey, and slightly sweet biscuit dough dropped on the top. It is PERFECT. Perfect enough to turn the oven on in my non-air conditioned house.

I’ve been keeping good with the dairy-free thing. I obviously went to Tartine when I was in San Francisco and I popped a lactaid pill and did what I had to do–I.ate. everything. Including this brioche bread pudding with fresh strawberries and streusel.

It was amazing, and worth it, but now that I’m back home, I’ve been trying my best to only take the no-moo pills when it’s an absolute, Tartine-level emergency/treat. So I tried to find dairy-free cobbler recipes on the internet, but the biscuit part never seemed like it’d come out right. I turned to my trusty friend, the Williams-Sonoma Baking Book, and altered a blackberry cobbler recipe to have less sugar and no dairy. I switched out the blackberries for a mixture of plums, and local blueberries and peaches. I made two dishes of it yesterday, and one may or may not be gone. And I may or may not have eaten most of it.

Fruit Cobbler
(recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Baking Book’s blackberry cobbler)

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a 2-quart baking dish, or two 1-quart baking dishes.

Start by making your vegan “buttermilk.”  Add the lemon juice to the almond milk, stir and set aside to thicken. Then, melt your Earth Balance/butter, and place in the fridge to cool.

Make the filling–combine sugar, flour, lemon zest, cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Add the fruit and toss until each piece is coated. Pour evenly into the baking dish/es and begin the topping.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, “buttermilk,”  melted Earth Balance/butter, and maple syrup. Pour that into the dry flour mixture and fold together using a spatula just until the mixture comes together into a dough.

Using a spoon (or a heart-shaped tablespoon–see above), drop the biscuit batter evenly on top of the fruit–it is not supposed to cover the entire top, so don’t worry if it doesn’t. Because it probably won’t.

Pop the sucker/s in the oven and bake until the top is golden brown, and the fruit is ragin’ and bubblin’. It’ll take 40-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool as long as you can stand, and make sure to reheat it once it’s cold or refrigerated. Serve along side some yummy (dairy-free !) ice cream at night or with a cup of good coffee the next morning.

I said it once, I’ll say it again: sometimes all it takes is a little butter and sugar to make your worries melt away!