17 Sept 2012

The Cobbler, not your average Crumble

Usual Friday night in London.
I’m on my way to meet friends in town. The girl sitting opposite me in the bus is wearing the traditional Friday Night Out Outfit: mini dress, high heels. Same old, same old.
On my side, it's mini dress (what? I told you, I embrace British Culture!), opaque tights, boots and scarf.
Suddenly, my attention is drawn to something I’ve seen so many times before: her toes are…blue. Despite the fact that it’s November and 5°C outside, this girl is wearing open sandals with no tights like it’s the most normal thing in the world.
It looks like Londoners tend to dress according to their mood of the day rather than according to the actual season. 
"Yeah, I feel like wearing my UGG boots today. It's 25 degrees, and so what? I'll just sweat my feet off"
I love seasons! Not only is it usually cheaper and more environmentally friendly to eat seasonal and local produces, but it’s also exciting!
I love eating different foods at different times of the year.
I love the anticipation of a season coming up: waiting eagerly for the fig season to start like a child waiting for Christmas to come.
I love looking for a million ways to cook a product when it is in season until I am sick of it: butternut squash soup, squash purée, pumpkin pie, roasted butternut squash, butternut squash gratin, …squah indigestion!
Fruits and vegetables are like clothes, we love them all the more when we change them with the seasons!
I had been waiting for it for few weeks and it’s finally here : the British plums season!

Plum Cobbler
A clobber is a kind of crumble, but different. It’s such an old traditional British cake that when I recently brought a cobbler to a party full of British people of all ages, almost nobody knew what it was!
A cobbler is made of a layer of fruits, roasted in sugar, covered by a layer of almond sponge, dropped in dollops over the fruits. The crunchy top of the sponge reveals a delicious soft inside, on top of melt-in-the-mouth caramelised fruits. Everybody absolutely loved it!
Please, do me a favour next time you are invited at a dinner party : wear season-appropriate shoes and ditch your usual crumble for a cobbler!
900g plums, washed and stalked removes, the biggest ones halved
150g caster sugar – put aside 3tbsp of this sugar for the topping

For the cobbler topping:
125g plain flour
100g ground almonds
Pinch of salt
3 level tsp baking powder
110g butter cut into pieces
170ml buttermilk (or whole milk with 1tsp of lemon juice added)
1tsp almond essence
1tbsp flaked almonds
1tbsp demerara sugar

Make the cobbler:

1/ Preheat the oven 200°C

2/ Place the washed plums into a ovenproof dish, sprinkle with the sugar and leave aside.

3/ Place flour, ground almonds, salt, baking powder and the 3 tbsp of caster sugar put aside in a big bowl and mix together. Rub in the butter and crumble the mixture in your hands until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

4/ Add the buttermilk, almond essence and mix with a wooden spoon until it turns to a thick dough.

5/ Drop tablespoon-size dollops of the mixture over the fruits, around the edges and middle - about 8 to 10 in total. You should cover more or less the whole dish, but it should still look messy and bumpy.

6/ Sprinkle with the flaked almonds (you won’t see any on my cake because I forgot them!) and the demerara sugar.

7/ Bake for 25-20 min until the crust is golden. Serve warm with ice-cream or cream. If you made it early, just warm it up gently (120°C) in the oven while you eat the main course.

Recipe adapted from British Chef Rachel Green: http://www.rachel-green.co.uk/

PS: I suffer from the Burnt Cake Great Malediction. I do have a timer and an oven thermometer, but I still manage to forget most of my cakes in the oven until they burn! Hopefully you don’t suffer from my “condition” and your cobbler should be just a little …lighter in colour ;-)

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