Friday, June 27, 2014

Archer Braid Trail through Haile update

"Sometime in July" is still the anticipated completion of  Archer Braid Trail's extension through Haile Plantation. Construction was hindered by problems with "drainage and clay" but is moving more smoothly now. Only one native has been restless during the construction assuring the workers each morning as she drives by that they are Number One. This is in dramatic contrast to the brouhaha which accompanied ABT's planning stages.

Construction of the section of the Trail paralleling Tower Road is unlikely to be completed "sometime in July" but there is increasing evidence of preliminary engineering work being done with the appearance of stakes identifying the location of the Trail as it passes Kanapaha Park.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mulberry Cobbler

After being given a lot of Mulberries I had to find a suitable use; suitable meaning relatively easy. Pies have never been among my baking successes and jelly required more equipment and time than I cared to invest. One potential option was a Cobbler. The basic idea of a Cobbler is to bake fruit and batter either by baking fruit poured atop the batter or batter atop the fruit.

None of the several cookbooks I commonly use had a suitable recipe. I settled on a recipe found on Sharon Glasgow’s blog and the result was okay; too sweet and too crisp on the edges, but okay otherwise, meaning it was easy and tasty. With four, three cup containers of Mulberries and the recipe requiring only two cups I decided to take a “Cook’s Illustrated” approach and try making more Cobblers while varying the recipe. The second Cobbler, made with less sugar added to both the berries and the batter, was still too crisp but had more Mulberry flavor and much less added sweetness.

Because Cobblers are very Americana and part of our Colonial heritage I looked more deeply into my modest library of cookbooks. Jeff Smith’s The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American probably should have been the first resource because it contains a wealth of good, basic All-America recipes. By merging both Ms Glasgow’s and Mr. Smith’s approaches I found an alternative that fully satisfied me and will serve well for other seasonal fruits in the future.
2 cups Mulberries
Less than 1/3 cup sugar

Other fruits may need to be softened by sautéing and sweetness varied by increasing or decreasing sugar.

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter cut into several chunks
1 cup self rising flour
Less than 3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a 7 x 11 x 2-inch baking dish put butter chunks in dish and place in oven to melt butter.
  3. Rinse Mulberries gently, ignoring any stems found on berries as they are edible.
  4. Pour fruit into a bowl and gently fold in sugar. I prefer my fruit desserts to be less sweet so I use slightly less than 1/3 cup sugar.
  5. In a second bowl combine flour, sugar, vanilla and milk to make a smooth, thick, pourable batter. Add flour if too thin and milk if too thick. (Yes, you can make your own “self rising flour” but I preferred the convenience of store-bought.)
  6. When butter is fully melted remove baking dish from oven and carefully pour batter into it, making sure the bottom of the dish is fully covered by the batter.
  7. Scrape/pour the sugared fruit onto the batter and distribute evenly.
  8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Top should be golden brown and fruit should not jiggle when shaken.
  9. Cool on a rack until temperature will allow you to eat it without burning your tongue.
Mulberry Cobbler