My grandfather used to drive to Plant City, Florida, otherwise known as the Winter Strawberry Capital, to visit his sister and buy strawberry plants. While the Florida strawberries were ready in late winter, Papa’s strawberries would come in a few months later. I loved walking through the garden, digging my toes into the soft, brown earth, and picking huge, sweet strawberries, eating them right then and there, sticky juice dribbling down my chin and the front of my shirt. I probably didn’t have clothes that didn’t have strawberry stains.
The garden is gone now, as is my grandfather, so I have to buy strawberries from the grocery store — at least until the Marietta Square Farmer’s Market opens in April. I love to eat the berries fresh, or make strawberry shortcake or slice them up with a little sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream. Around this time of year I also make Strawberry Freezer Jam, which I will post in a few days. But one of my favorite dishes, and one that can be enjoyed year round if you freeze a few berries, is Strawberry Cobbler. It’s just like peach or any other cobbler, and it’s simple and quick to put together. But the taste is anything but simple. Sweet strawberries mixed with crunchy crust and just enough syrupy juice to meld it all together — serve it piping hot or room temperature and add a little vanilla ice cream on the side. An easy dish with a big wow factor!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Granulated sugar
- Baking powder
- Whole milk
- Vanilla extract
- Brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350°. Melt the butter in a 13×9 inch baking dish or a 12-inch cast iron skillet. While the butter’s melting, stir in a little sugar with your sliced strawberries to add a touch more sweetness. Mash the berries slightly to help release their rich juice and then set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, unless you are using self-rising flour, in which case you don’t need the baking powder and salt. Add the sugar and whisk it all together until well blended. Slowly stir in the milk and vanilla extract and blend until you have a nice, smooth batter.
Once the butter has fully melted, remove your dish from the oven and slowly pour the batter over the butter but do not stir. Then gently spoon the strawberries and any accumulated juices over the mixture and DO NOT STIR.
It’s pretty, isn’t it? Now sprinkle a little brown sugar over the top and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until golden brown.
You can serve this cobbler hot or room temperature with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream. You can even stand at the stove and eat it yourself right from the dish when nobody’s looking…not that I would ever do that.
This recipe would work equally well with blackberries or blueberries. Enjoy!