Tuesday Aug 31 2010
Locally yours: Cobblers elevate fruit to new goodness level
By: Carol Arnold
Food and Wine
It may be September, but summer isn’t over. Even as pears and apples signal that fall is at hand in the markets, summer fruits and vegetables are still widely available. I took a walk around the Auburn Old Town and DeWitt markets last week and just breathed in the fragrance of vine-ripened melons. For some reason the melons are especially sweet this year, maybe because the cool weather delayed their arrival. Fresh, snappy green beans and bright red tomatoes line the aisles along with their summer counterparts, crisp cucumbers and vibrant summer squash. The peppers are finally ripe; Snowy Peaks fired up the pepper roaster for fresh roasted goodness. Sweet red onions are still available but the sweet white varieties are almost gone. Buy them while you can. Sweet corn is not done yet. I have been steaming the corn and dusting it lightly with Snows Citrus Lime Salt—no need for butter. On to fruit: strawberries are at their peak of sweetness. There are still many peaches available although the season is winding down. Ueki Flower Garden has rhubarb and crispy pears. Beauty Ranch has a wide variety of stone fruit for sale along with a new crop of crunchy apples. Pine Hill has the first of the Asian pear crop along with plums. The Boorinakis-Harper Farm came back with their famous pears and local honey. Besides being part of the best food shed around, the Auburn Old Town and DeWitt Farmers’ Markets are lively and full of fun. Make a date with a neighbor to peruse the market and grab a cheddar and ham scone while you are at it. ------------------------ Plum Cobbler Ingredients: 1 pound, 10 ounces plums ½ cup sugar 1cup self-rising flour (or 1 cup flour, 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder, 1/8 teaspoon salt) ½ cup all-purpose flour ½ cup butter, chilled and chopped 1 egg ½ cup milk Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-cup baking dish. Cut the plums into quarters, discarding the pits. Put the plums in a saucepan with ¼ cup of the sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Stir over low heat for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves and the fruit softens slightly. Spread the plum mixture into the prepared dish. Sift the flours (and baking powder and salt if you aren’t using self-rising)into a bowl, add the remaining sugar and stir to combine. Rub in the butter, using your fingertips, until the mixture is fine and crumbly. In a separate bowl, combine the egg and milk and whisk until smooth. Stir into the flour until a soft dough forms. Drop heaping spoonfuls of the mixture on top of the plums, until the plums are covered or all the mixture has been used. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden and cooked through. Plum and Rosemary Flat Bread Ingredients: ¼ cup warm milk 1 package active dry yeast ½ cup sugar 2 eggs, lightly beaten Grated zest of one lemon 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary 1 ¼ cups bread flour 2/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes, softened 10 plums, halved and pitted Whipped cream or mascarpone cheese, to serve Grease a 10-inch springform pan or loose-bottomed tart pan with butter. Combine the milk and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in ¼ cup of the sugar, the eggs, lemon, zest, and 1 teaspoon of the rosemary, then add the flour. Using the beater attachment, mix for 1 minute or until a soft dough forms. Add the butter, then continue mixing for another minute or until the dough is smooth and shiny. (Alternatively, mix the dough by hand using a wooden spoon.) Spoon into the prepared pan and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a draft-free place for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size. Knock back the dough by punching it gently. Dampen the palms of your hands with water and press the dough into the edge of the pan. Arrange the plums, cut side up, over the top, pressing them gently into the dough. Leave for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle the plums with the remaining sugar. Sprinkle the remaining rosemary over the top. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until light golden and slightly spongy when pressed in the center. Serve warm, cut into wedges, with whipped cream or mascarpone cheese.