Thursday, October 10, 2019

Pear Cobbler

by Shanna Hatfield

We live in a valley where an abundance of fruit is grown. Right across the road from us there are acres and acres of apples and beyond that are orchards with cherries, nectarines, peaches, and pears. And grapes. Yep, there a bunch of vineyards in our area, too. 
This time of year, when the fruit is being harvested, I love to eat it fresh. There's nothing quite like biting into a crisp, juicy apple with the lingering perfume of sunshine wafting from it's skin. 
I also enjoy baking with fresh fruit. Autumn seems like a perfect season for making cobblers, crisps, tarts and pies. 
Pie was developed from the Romans who sealed meat inside a flour and oil paste crust then cooked it. From there, the ingredients evolved and some really smart person came up with the idea of substituting fruit for meat. 
Early American settlers had a penchant for improvising. Although they brought many of their favorite recipes with them, they lacked the ingredients for things such as English steamed puddings. So they instead came up with buckles, slumps and pandowdies.  In fact, the colonists were so fond of these juicy, fruit-laden dishes, they served them for breakfast or even a first course. 
It can be confusing trying to keep it all straight. Some of the most common dishes, though, are pie, cobbler, and crisp.
Pie has a crust on the bottom, and generally one on the top with the fruit sealed in the middle.
Cobbler is a deep-dish dessert with a thick crust on top, often made of sweetened biscuit dough. 
Crisps are baked with the fruit on the bottom and a crumb topping. The topping might be made with oats, flour, nuts, bread crumbs, cookie crumbs, or even breakfast cereal. 
Years ago, I sat, amused, and listened to Captain Cavedweller and my mother discuss (interpret argue) over the difference in cobbler and crisp. Turns out CC was right. The man knows his fruit desserts!  
It wasn't until the early 1900s though, that crisps began to appear on American tables. 
One of the earliest recorded recipes was in the Freeport Journal-Standard in July, 1916.
"This recipe requires eight apples (or one quart), a teaspoon of cinnamon, a half cup of water, one cup of sugar, a half cup of flour and five tablespoons of butter. Butter a fireproof dish and fill it with the apples, water, and cinnamon, mixed. Work together the other ingredients, mixing them gently with the fingertips until crumbly, then spread over the apple mixture. Bake 30 minutes, uncovered." 
Here is a recipe for an easy pear cobbler that is so yummy, especially if you serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Pear Cobbler
¼ cup butter
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2/3 cup milk
4 cups pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a 9 x 13 baking dish, melt butter in oven.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and milk until just combined. Pour over the top of the melted butter. Do not stir!
Toss pears with cinnamon and nutmeg. Add fruit on top of dough. Do not stir!
Bake for one hour. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve with a generous topping of vanilla ice cream sprinkled with a dash of nutmeg. Makes approximately 10 servings

For more recipes, check out A Cowboy Christmas, my newest release. It features more than 70 recipes with full color images, holiday entertaining tips, decor ideas, interviews with rodeo and ranch families and more!

After spending her formative years on a farm in eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky heroes.
When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly seeking dark, decadent chocolate, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.
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  1. Thank you for sharing this very nice post! I have never had pear cobbler, but sounds delicious , Thank you for sharing your pear recipe, I actually love pears. Have a Great weekend.

  2. Sounds Wonderful I never had Pear cobbler but I sure want to try this