I am not aware of an Italian dessert that resembles cobbler. If any of you is, please let me know. Until then, I will use the original name to describe what I made.
It is actually the first time I try my hands at this dessert, which is quite easy to make, its main requirement being (in my opinion) starting with good quality fruit. The inspiration to explore cobbler-making came from two things: ripe, dark orange apriums (apricot and plum hybrids, with apricot dominating1) at our local Co-op, and a recipe for apricot cobbler from Gourmet magazine that seemed just about right, once I made a couple of adjustments to it:
- I used 3 tablespoons of sugar, instead of 7 (if the fruit is ripe, not much sugar is needed)
- I substituted 1/4 of the regular flour with the same amount of whole-wheat pastry flour
- I sprinkled only one teaspoon of sugar over the surface of the cobbler before putting it in the oven, instead of two.
I am embarrassed to say that, even though I produced three specimens of aprium cobbler in less than two weeks, all greeted favorably by the audience around the table, I failed miserably in the documentation phase, and therefore have no photos to support my claim of success.
For my fourth try, I decided to use fragole, because 'tis their season and it is hard not to get inspired by them. For the strawberry version, I made the following adjustments to the recipe I used for the aprium version:
- one tablespoon of corn starch instead of flour with the berries (for no particular reason),
- vanilla extract instead of almond extract, because I thought it would go better with the strawberry flavor
- a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar instead of the lemon juice, because I have been using balsamic vinegar to season strawberries a lot this season, and in any case I was out of lemons.
This time, I made sure to take a photo, which turned out to be a lot less successful than its subject, partly because of light issues. Cobbler and gelato make a happy couple and it is fun to test different combinations. For the strawberry cobbler, I'd suggest vaniglia or cioccolato. I suspect that anice stellato also works well: I will confirm this suspicion as soon as I gather the necessary data.
This is my answer to Francesca of francescav's question: E voi cosa avete preparato con le fragole? (what have you prepared with strawberries?)
1 Addendum about apriums (and pluots):
Pluot® & Aprium® are "interspecifics" - complex hybrids of plum and apricot. Pluot® has predominantly plum parentage and smooth skin like plums, Aprium®, with very little fuzz, resembles apricots in the expression of its 'cot parentage.
And another page from the same site that has additional information on the different varieties.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the cobbler di fragole audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]
Hi Simona - I just stopped off at a fresh strawberry stand yesterday. Who could resist them?
I believe you on your aprium cobbler, even without proof :)
Posted by: Lori Lynn @ Taste With The Eyes | June 12, 2008 at 09:07 AM
Simona, how cute...you recited cobbler with an Italiana accent...sounds wonderful and cobblers are an easy and diverse dessert procedure.
Posted by: Peter | June 12, 2008 at 09:10 AM
We just bought apriums last week at the farmers' market. They were so tasty, we ate them all out of hand, so there were none left to bake with! Don't worry about the pics, I believe you. But if it makes you feel better, you could bake me one. ;)
Posted by: Susan from Food Blogga | June 12, 2008 at 12:15 PM
Oh, yum. Actually the photo is quite good, and I can see the deliciousness of the berries.
As for what I do with strawberries: Recently I made a strawberry sauce for a cheesecake topped with strawberries. The sauce was just pureed berries with a little sugar and lemon juice. It made the cheesecake rather elegant. But of course my most usual thing to do with strawberries is to just pop them into my mouth, au naturel!
Posted by: Lisa | June 13, 2008 at 07:41 AM
Molto interessante questa ricetta con le fragole Simona, da provare. Grazie! Un bacio e buon finesettimana.
Posted by: Francesca | June 13, 2008 at 07:44 AM
Thanks Lori Lynn. Irresistible, indeed.
I did, Peter. In fact, I originally pronounced it with an American accent, but it sounded strange next to "fragole" so I recorded it again.
Sure, Susan, I'll make you one: when are you visiting?
Hi Lisa. Fresh strawberries popped in your mouth are indeed great. Strawberry sauce is a nice accompaniment to cheesecake.
Prego, Francesca, buon fine settimana anche a te.
Posted by: Simona Carini | June 13, 2008 at 10:32 AM
Apriums? I'd like to hear more about them. I like apricots and plums, but I don't think of them as a natural combination. Their textures are farily different, for example.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
Posted by: Peter | June 13, 2008 at 11:33 PM
LOL! I know all about not being able to take a photo before the food is eaten. ;-) Glad you were finally able to take a photo. Looks and sounds delicious!
Posted by: Paz | June 14, 2008 at 04:35 AM
Hi Peter. I am adding a note to the post to answer your question.
Posted by: Simona Carini | June 14, 2008 at 08:08 AM
Il tuo dolce con le fragole darà alla raccolta un tocco in più
Posted by: lenny | June 17, 2008 at 01:40 PM
Grazie Lenny e baci di rimando.
Posted by: Simona | June 18, 2008 at 03:14 PM
hello simona, this cobbler sounds very similar to what I'd call a crumble, which is what i did with the plums - the hibiscus flower was my friend's idea
Posted by: maria v | July 14, 2008 at 12:16 AM