This is the dessert present at every holiday table in chef Virginia Willis's family. Meme was the family name for her grandmother, who made the cobbler with whatever fresh fruit was available when Willis and her sister would spend summer vacations on the road with their grandparents.
This is a batter cobbler; when it is poured into a hot cast-iron skillet, the batter immediately crisps and swells.
Serve warm with whipped cream, creme fraiche or ice cream.
Make Ahead: Because this is served in the skillet in which it was made, it's better to make the cobbler the same day it will be served.
Servings: 6 - 8
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 4 cups fresh or defrosted fruit, such as blackberries, peaches, raspberries, blueberries, plums, cherries or apricots
- 1 cup sugar, plus more for (optional) sprinkling
- 1 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the butter in a large (10- to 12-inch) cast-iron skillet (may substitute a large ovenproof baking dish) and place in the oven so the butter melts; this should take 5 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the fruit in a large mixing bowl. Use a potato masher to mash the fruit just enough so that it releases some of its juices. If the fruit is tart, sprinkle a little sugar on top.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate medium bowl. Add the cup of sugar, milk and vanilla extract, stirring until well incorporated.
Remove the skillet from the oven. Carefully pour the melted butter from the skillet into the batter, stirring to combine, then pour the batter all at once into the skillet. Add the fruit and juices to the center of the batter. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the batter comes out mostly clean. Serve warm, straight from the skillet.
Adapted from Willis's "Bon Appetit, Y'all" (Ten Speed Press, 2008).
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.