If you visit Shirley Moore’s home in Independence, you might be lucky enough to catch her baking not one, but two cobblers, as she enjoys giving them to family and friends. She especially enjoys sharing cobblers with her two adult sons and seven grandchildren, who all live in the Kansas City area.
Q: Your smile seems to radiate when you talk about cooking. Tell us about that.
A: I love to cook and bake, and it brings back fond memories. I grew up in Kansas City and I learned to cook at an early age. I took home economics classes in high school, where they taught cooking and I loved it.
My mom worked, but we always had dinner together, and I often cooked so it was ready when she got home. We had dessert at every meal, and I remember wonderful desserts, like bread pudding, rice pudding and cobbler.
Even as a child I enjoyed experimenting with recipes, and my dad was a good sport and tasted my creations. One time I made a blue meringue topped cherry cobbler and my dad ate it.
Q: What do you enjoy cooking the most?
A: I like to cook everything but especially prefer desserts. I like to bake pies and cookies, but cobblers are my favorites. I love to share the desserts with my family, friends and neighbors and always take a dessert to my card game, so when I bake, I like to bake an extra.
Q: What flavor of cobbler do you bake and what makes them so special?
A: Peach is a specialty, but I substitute other fruits, like cherries or berries in my basic cobbler recipe if that is what I have on hand or is in season.
I always make a double crust cobbler like I grew up with, so I line the pan with my homemade crust and then top the fruit filling with a second crust. While many people use cinnamon, I flavor cobblers with fresh grated nutmeg like my mom did. The fresh grated nutmeg tastes so much better than the bottled, ground varieties.
Q: Do you enjoy preparing big holiday dinners?
A: I love big family gatherings and always invite lots of friends and neighbors, so I typically serve 30 to 35 people, and we cover the kitchen island with food. My mother taught us to never leave anyone hungry or alone, so we had friends and neighbors join us who couldn’t return home or didn’t have family nearby and now, I do the same thing.
My son has a big holiday party at his work every year, and my neighbors, friends and I all gather and bake nonstop the week before. We have so much fun baking together and bake all kinds of cookies and make candy like fudge and peanut clusters.
Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore are cookbook authors and food consultants that make up The Electrified Cooks. They have published over eleven cookbooks and thousands of recipes. They are members of Les Dames d’Escoffier and blog at pluggedintocooking.com . Email them at KCComeIntoMyKitchen@gmail.com
Makes 1 (8- by 8-inch) cobbler
3 to 4 pounds fresh, ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced thick
6 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh ground nutmeg
1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar, plus additional for sprinkling over the cobbler, divided
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 pie crusts (see recipe)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the sliced peaches in a large saucepan. Add 3 tablespoons butter, 3/4 cup water, nutmeg and 1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar (depending on the sweetness of the fruit) and stir to coat the peaches evenly. Heat over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes or until bubbly, stirring occasionally. (Do not overcook the fruit or it will be mushy.)
In a small bowl, make a slurry by stirring together 1/2 cup cold water and the cornstarch, blending until smooth. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the peaches, blending well. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the juices begin to bubble. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To make the bottom crust large enough, pinch off a little from one pie crust ball and add it to the one you will be rolling for the bottom crust. On a lightly floured surface roll the bottom pie crust into a 13- to 14-inch square.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter and pour into an 8- by 8-inch deep baking dish. Brush to coat the pan evenly. Transfer the rolled crust to the prepared pan, covering the bottom and sides of the dish. Pour the fruit filling into the crust. Dot the top of the fruit with 1 tablespoon of butter, cut into small pieces.
Roll the second crust on a lightly floured board. Transfer the crust to the top of the filling and crimp edges to seal. Cut slits into the top crust to allow steam to escape. Dot the top crust with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake 45 to 60 minutes until golden brown and juices are bubbling.
Tip: Substitute cherries or other fruits or berries for the peaches. If desired, substitute frozen, unsweetened peaches or other fruit for the fresh. Do not thaw the fruit; add the frozen fruit to the sugar and proceed as recipe directs.
Makes 4 crusts, enough for 2 cobblers
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup shortening
3/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 cup water
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the shortening and butter until the mixture is crumbly.
In a small bowl, stir together using a fork, the vinegar, egg and water. Pour the mixture over the flour-butter mixture. Using the fork, blend lightly until moistened. Gather the mixture into a four even portions. Shape each into a ball. Use two portions for one cobbler.
Use the remaining two portions for a second cobbler or for a pie. If desired, wrap the remaining two portions in plastic wrap and seal in a freezer bag. Refrigerate for use in 2 to 3 days or freeze to use within about 2 to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.