The Gourmet Touch: Berries and bread make elegant cobbler
by Prudence Hilburn
The Gourmet Touch
Jul 03, 2013 | 1773 views |  0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Strawberries are the perfect fruit for the Fourth of July. After all, they are red, so pair them with blueberries and maybe some white chocolate pudding for a patriotic trifle.

No recipe is needed. Just layer these ingredients with some pound cake and you have a light and delicious dessert for a summertime cookout.

One of the first things that comes to mind when fresh home-grown strawberries are available is my mother’s strawberry cobbler. It was wonderful, but her version had more juice in it than most cobblers today. Of course, we never complained and always looked forward to it.

The recipe for strawberry cobbler I included in “A Treasury of Southern Baking,” published by Harper Collins in 1993, was similar to the way I remembered my mother’s cobbler. One of the first comments I received from someone who’d purchased the book was that the strawberry cobbler had too much juice. I think what they said was the strawberries were “floating in juice.” Since then, I’ve come up with a cobbler that tastes like my mother’s but with a little less juice.

These versatile berries are good in just about any dessert and they make wonderful muffins, but sometimes I just slice a few strawberries in a bowl, sprinkle them with sugar and refrigerate. Then when I want a special treat, I add cream.

This is similar to the process my mother used to make her wonderful strawberry shortcake. She simply sandwiched the juicy sugared berries between layers of plain cake and spooned more berries over the top, allowing the juice to seep into the cake. Nothing fancy, but it sure tasted great.

Years ago, one of my coworkers asked if I had ever substituted fresh sliced strawberries for bananas in a traditional banana pudding. I had not, but since then this great-tasting pudding has found its way to several church lunches and I always try to make it to the dessert table in time to get a bowl. In my version, I substituted crisp coconut cookies for the usual vanilla wafers.

If you are not quite ready to make a traditional cobbler with homemade pastry, you might try the following version which uses sandwich bread as the crust. I have used this unusual crust in other pies and wanted to try it with the strawberries. It is unbelievably easy and, as strange as it might seem, the sandwich bread crust tastes like an elegant pastry.

4-5 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 2/3 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
8 slices sandwich bread (or enough to cover top of cobbler)
1 egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

Heat oven to 350 F. Spoon the strawberries into a 13x9x2-inch baking pan or dish of approximate size. Sprinkle with 2/3 cup sugar and add water. Trim the edges from the bread slices and cut each slice into 3 pieces. Set aside. Combine the remaining 1 cup sugar with the egg in a microwavable bowl and mix well. Add the butter and microwave until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. It usually takes about 1 minute and 30 to 40 seconds, but start by microwaving for only 1 minute. Stir and continue microwaving, if needed. Place the bread strips on top of the filling, covering top. You may have to trim some of the strips to fit your pan. Pour the butter mixture over all the bread. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until top is delicately browned and filling is bubbly.

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The Gourmet Touch: Berries and bread make elegant cobbler by Prudence Hilburn
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