How did you celebrate Mother’s Day? In our family, I find it fitting that we celebrate my mother with delicious food and great company. These two simple pleasures fit her well. And it’s because of her that I have the interest in food and the cooking ability I do today. Actually I would say it’s a good percentage because of my mother; the other credit goes to other “mother’s” in my life: my grandmother, my Omi, my friend’s mothers.
Food played a central role in my childhood. Yes, because food is a growing child’s necessity, but also because as luck would have it, I grew up with a mother who loved to cook, a grandmother who loved to cook, and an Omi who coaxed even the most stubborn of children to eat their peas. The peas part was pretty simple: mash them with potatoes and butter. What’s not to love?
While I don’t remember my first meals, or the carpeted kitchen my parents speak so fondly of, I do remember watching my mom come home each night, changing clothes, and taking the time to cook dinner. This part of the ritual – the cooking part – I would ignore, until I had to set the table, or help, or worse: chop something. There was even that summer, where my sister and I were each responsible for making dinner once a week (was it once a month?). While I don’t remember what I made, I knew it wasn’t fun.
Then, as we all do, I got older – maybe a little smarter – and I realized cooking wasn’t just about the food, but also about the conversations. In late high school and college, I began to help more, sit in the kitchen to keep mom company, cook more. Now I cook nearly every night: a daily ritual that starts with one part weekly planning, one part idea gathering, and one part sheer darn luck.
So to celebrate my mother, I’m sharing the cobbler we ate on mother’s day. It’s a fool-proof recipe I learned from her, with a little addition from me. For inspiring my love of cooking (and for many other things), I’m thankful for her.
Blackberry Cobbler + Walnut and Pepita Crunch
For the crunch:
- 1 cup walnut halves and pieces
- 3/4 cup pepita (or see of your choice)
- 1-2 table spoons coconut oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
In a large mixing bowl, combine walnuts, pepitas, coconut oil, and maple syrup. Using your hands, mix the together until all the nuts and seeds are coated with oil and syrup. Set aside.
For the cobbler:
- Roughly 5 cups of blackberries, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 or 1/3 cup organic brown sugar
- 1 cup flour (alternately, 1/2 cup white flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
- Cinnamon, about 1 tsp (more to your taste)
- Ginger, about 1/2 tsp (more to your taste, if desired)
- Clove, about 1/4 tsp
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean (or about 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 stick butter
Mix together the blackberries and brown sugar. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a 13×9 inch baking dish, place the stick of butter. Place the baking dish in the oven, and allow the butter to melt. While the butter melts, combine the flour through milk, in the order listed. Stir together to form a loose dough.
Once the butter has melted, carefully remove the baking dish from the oven. Pour 2/3 of the dough into the baking dish. Cover with the blackberries. Pour the remaining dough over the blackberries. Bake for about 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, spread the walnut and seed crumble over the top of the dish. Bake for 10 more minutes at 350 degrees. The cobbler should start to bubble. Increase the temperature to 400, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, allowing the crumble to brown and any parts of the dough to also turn brown.
Allow to cool before serving. Can be served warm, but also delicious cold. Make for mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, family of all sorts, and of course dear, dear friends. Serve with coffee or tea. If you’re being indulgent, a nice crisp class of sparkling wine.