Blackberry Pear Cobbler

It’s almost time for fresh blackberries and I wanted to use a bag of frozen blackberries before the farm markets open.  I needed 4 cups of fruit and only had 2-1/2 cups in the bag of berries, so I used a can of drained pear slices, which made the measurement exactly right.  Fresh blackberries can also be used but if you are substituting fresh pears, saute them first in a little butter until fork tender so they will be done within the 30-minute baking time.



  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tblsp. cornstarch
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 15 oz. can sliced pears in juice, drained (about 1-½ cups)
  • 12 oz. bag of frozen blackberries, thawed, with juice – about 2-½ cups
  • 1 Tblsp. butter
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tblsp. granulated sugar
  • 1-½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • ½ cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Have a 9×9 inch baking pan/dish at hand

To make filling:
Drain the pears – I like to save the juice in a jar in the freezer to substitute for a cup of cold water when making Jello.  A mixture of different juices makes it really flavorful.

Cut the pear slices in half.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, cook the sugar, cornstarch and boiling water over medium heat until mixture begins to boil; continue stirring and cooking for another minute.  Remove from heat and add blackberries and pears.  Stir in butter and spices and pour into a 9×9 baking pan/dish.  Set aside.

To make topping:
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the shortening with your fingertips.  Stir in the milk to make a soft dough.

Drop the soft dough by spoonful onto the hot filling.

Bake @ 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.  Place pan on a wire rack to cool.

Good warm or at room temperature.  Delicious plain or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Tart Cherry Cobbler

Back in the 1980s we had a small house on about 2 acres of ground, almost every inch filled with something good to eat that my husband had planted.  We all loved the tart cherries and had to join in and pick quickly before the birds got them.  I used netting for a while, but got too upset when a bird got caught in it, although we were always able to set it free without injury.  Instead, we just kept an eye on the tree and tried to beat the birds to the harvest.

Eleven years ago, we had to leave the two acres and all its bounty behind and since then I’ve had no luck in finding fresh or frozen tart cherries – only the small cans of discolored fruit for an annual President’s Day pie.  But recently, my online friend, Darlene, mentioned on her blog that she buys tart frozen Morency cherries at her Meijer store in Columbus, Ohio.  I couldn’t wait to check out the freezer section of my Cincinnati area store, and, sure enough, they carry a 24-oz. bag.


The Cherry Filling

  • 24-oz. bag of frozen tart cherries, thawed with juice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tblsp. quick cooking tapioca
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tblsp. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract

The Cobbler Dough:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tblsp. granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

To make the filling:

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, mix the cherries, juice, sugar, tapioca and salt.  Cook until mixture begins to boil, stirring occasionally.  Boil for another minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in butter and almond extract.  Pour cherry mixture into a 10-inch or 1-1/2 qt. ungreased  baking dish.

To make the cobbler topping:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the shortening until well distributed.  With a fork, stir in the milk.  Drop batter by tablespoonful onto the top of the piping hot cherry mixture.*  Place baking dish on a flat pan to catch spills and bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes until topping is golden brown.  Remove baking dish to a wire rack to cool.

Best when eaten warm with whipped cream/topping or ice cream.

Servings:  6 

*I never had a lot of luck with cobblers until I read in an old Farm Journal cookbook that the filling should always be piping hot when the batter is spooned onto it.  This tip always works for me.

My President’s Day Pie

Blackberry Cobbler and a Berry-Loving Dog

Rusty likes blackberries.  It came as quite a surprise to me.  We had gotten Rusty from the shelter in 1999 when he was four months old.

At the time, we lived on two acres in a rural area on the Ohio/Indiana border called Blue Jay.  One day, I was preparing blackberries and looked down to see Rusty staring expectantly at me or rather, at the plump blackberry in my hand.  I had never given a tart, wild blackberry to a dog before, but that’s what he seemed to want.  He loved it.  Luckily, I had buckets of berries picked from our wild thicket in the backyard, so he got a fair share of our bounty.

I took Rusty with me when I went out to pick berries – not always a good thing for me.  I had taken off my straw hat for a minute and looked around to see this.

I wasn’t happy that my hat was all gnawed around the edges.

I scolded him a little, but not enough to warrant this sad reaction.

A year later, I wrote a piece for a web site about Rusty and his favorite fruit.

BLACKBERRY TIME IN BLUE JAY –  Rusty, our year-old hound, seems to know when the blackberries are ready for picking.  He takes off toward the back yard on a brisk trot, straining at his leash  – past the asparagus bed and rhubarb, along the border of the vegetable garden, down to the very edge of the property where the wild blackberries grow.  Rusty plucks off all the berries he can reach, always choosing the choice center berry, ignoring the thorns that prickle his nose.  We still have plenty of dark, lustrous berries to carry back to the house in our graniteware bucket to cook up into summertime treats such as Blackberry Cobbler.

That was the last summer I could put on my tattered straw hat and take Rusty down to the blackberry patch.  My husband’s condition worsened and we had to move to a property I could manage alone.   David has been gone for over 7 years, but Rusty is still with me, an elderly 12-year-old, and I still get some blackberries at the farm market and make that good Blackberry Cobbler from a recipe found in an old Farm Journal Pie cookbook.


¾ cup granulated sugar
1 Tblsp. cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
4 cups blackberries
1 T butter
½ tsp cinnamon or ¼ tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and water.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for one minute, whisking constantly.   Remove from heat and gently stir in the blackberries.

Pour this mixture into an ungreased 10” x 6 x 2 inch baking dish or a 1-½ qt casserole.

Dot with butter and sprinkle with spices.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tblsp. granulated sugar
1-½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ cup shortening
½ cup milk

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

Stir in the milk.

Drop spoonsful of dough over the hot fruit filling.

Bake in a 400 F degree oven about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling.  Cool slightly on a wire rack.

Serve in bowls with cobbler juices.  Best when served warm.

6 servings 

Rusty still gets an occasional ripe blackberry tossed his way.

Celebration Peach Cobbler

This recipe comes from two sources – the fruit portion is from a Crisco flyer, American Pie Celebration, and the cobbler topping is my favorite from Farm Journal’s Complete Pie Cookbook.  The Farm Journal stresses dropping the cobbler dough onto piping hot fruit.


Fruit Mixture

  • 4 cups sliced fresh peaches
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg

Cobbler Topping:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tblsp. granulated sugar
  • 1-½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
  • ½ cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Have a 9-inch square baking pan or 2-quart baking dish at hand.

To Make Fruit Mixture:
In a large saucepan, combine peaches, sugar, water and cornstarch.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring constantly for one minute.  Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg.  Pour into a 9-inch square baking dish or a 2-quart baking dish.

To Make Cobbler Topping:
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Blend in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  Stir in the milk to make a soft dough.

Drop tablespoons of cobbler topping over surface of piping hot fruit mixture.

Bake @ 400 degrees F for 20-30 minutes until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown.

6 servings.  Serve in bowls with cobbler juices. 

This is a wonderful cobbler served warm.  I try to time it so it’s coming from the oven  to  cool for 20 minutes or so while we’re eating dinner.  It’s a lovely dessert  plain or topped with a little cream or whipped topping.

Mini-Apple Pie in a Jar, 3 Weight Watchers Points/Plus

My youngest daughter is a busy stay-at-home mom who always finds time to get together with me on Fridays for lunch.  I try to make meals that are tasty, quick and easy, and reduced in fat and calories.  Here is what we enjoyed this week.

My youngest daughter and I watch our food counts all the time – I do mine on DietPower software and she’s a member of Weight Watchers.  We’re great pie-lovers and pie just wrecks any diet, so I thought about making a small portion without the temptation of cutting a larger slice or having anything left over.  There is a lot of talk among food bloggers about using Mason jars and in my case, I didn’t want to store or mail the contents – I just wanted something small to bake the pie and it was nice having a lid for transporting to my daughter.

Note that I’m using the small ½-cup/4 oz.  jars – usually reserved for samples or gifts.

This little pie is just four or five bites of old-fashioned apple pie goodness – and absolute heaven for someone who has been dieting all week.


For one pie:

  • 1 Tblsp. pie pastry*
  • ½ cup thinly sliced tart apple
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. all-purpose flour
  • Dash of salt
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg

*Use your favorite pastry – here’s mine.  I keep small amounts in the freezer for quick desserts.

One ½-cup/4 oz.  Mason jar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Roll pastry dough on a lightly floured board.

Use the jar to cut out one round of pastry…

…and a small cookie cutter to make cut-outs for the top (a child’s cookie cutter works nicely for this).

Place the round of pastry in the bottom of the Mason jar.

In a small bowl, mix together the apple slices,

…sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Spoon the apple mixture into the jar.  Place the cutouts on top of the apple mixture.  Place the jar on a pie plate …

…and bake @ 375 degrees F for 35-40 minutes until apples are done and crust is golden brown.  Remove to a rack to cool.

Nutritional count for one pie per my Diet Power software is: 111 calories, 3.98 g fat, 21.2 g carbohydrate, 2.75 g fiber, 0.98 g protein

Weight Watchers Points/Plus:  3

The count is for one pie but I’ve included ingredients for 2, 3 and 4 pies in case there is more than one dieter to feed.  I made three pies for supper for my two daughters and myself.  The two dieters especially enjoyed them.

For two pies:

  • 2 Tblsp. pie pastry
  • 1 cup thinly sliced tart apple
  • 1 Tblsp. plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. all-purpose flour
  • Dash of salt
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon/nutmeg

For three pies:

  • 3 Tblsp. pie pastry
  • 1-1/2 cup thinly sliced tart apple
  • 2 Tblsp. granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. all-purpose flour
  • Dash of salt
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon/nutmeg

For four pies:

  • ¼ cup pie pastry
  • 2 cups thinly sliced tart apple
  • 2 Tblsp. plus  2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. all-purpose flour
  • Dash of salt
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon/nutmeg 

For our entree, we had a favorite from the 1970s – Beef Stroganoff.

Christmas Cherry Mince Tarts

In 1987, my oldest daughter came up with an idea to add tart cherries to a dried fruit mincemeat that I made.  We enjoyed it so much that it ended up replacing the regular mince pie on our holiday menu.  This is a small English-style Christmas tart version.  It was our dessert today on a snowy December afternoon.


  • Pastry for single-crust 9-inch pie
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, finely chop0ped
  • 1/4 cup prunes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup frozen tart cherries
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tblsp. toasted walnuts, chopped
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 Tblsp. quick cooking tapioca
  • 1 tsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Divide pastry dough into five portions.  Use four portions to line small tart/pie pans (mine measure 4 inches diameter across the top).  Set aside.

In a small pan, combine finely chopped apricots, chopped prunes and raisins along with the 1/4 cup of water.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until liquid is absorbed – about 4 minutes – stirring occasionally and keeping a close watch so the mixture doesn’t burn.

Remove from heat and stir in frozen cherries (no need to defrost).  Stir in cinnamon, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, chopped walnuts, salt and tapioca.  Mix well and divide among the four unbaked tart shells.

Roll the remaining portion of pastry dough and with a 3-inch cutter, cut out a design and place one on each of the tarts.  Brush with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Place tarts on a large sheet to catch spills and bake @ 400 degrees F

for approximately 25 minutes until the crust is brown and the filling is bubbling.

Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Makes four 4-inch tarts 

A nice treat when it’s cold, windy and snowy outside.

Irish Lemon and Blackberry Sponge Pudding

My oldest daughter made several trips to Ireland and always brought back an Irish cookbook for me.   In May of 1987, she brought home a copy of Irish Country Kitchen and on June 17, I made this wonderful sponge pudding for the first time.  We were living then in rural Blue Jay, Ohio, on the Indiana border, and every day I went to our back yard and picked a big bucket of wild blackberries.  I made several kinds of pie, jam, jelly, preserves and was running out of ideas when I tried this recipe.  It took a little adapting because of conversions and size of baking pans, but became a favorite.

This is a simple, light dessert of blackberries with a light sponge cake on top – just right for a summertime meal.


  • 2 cups fresh blackberries*
  • 2 Tblsp. butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 Tblsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven @ 350 degrees F

Have at hand 4 individual casserole dishes.  Mine measure 4-1/2″ diameter across the top and are 2″ deep.

Have a large pan with sides in which you can bake the 4 casseroles.

Heat water for the pan in which casseroles are baked.

Place about 1/2 cup of blackberries on the bottom of each of four individual ungreased baking dishes and set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.  Add the lemon juice and lemon peel, beating to blend.

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and the flour.  In another container, mix the two egg yolks and milk.

Add the dry ingredients to the lemon mixture alternately with the egg mixture, beginning and ending with the dry.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Fold into the batter.

Pour the batter over the berries (about 1/2 cup per serving).

Place the puddings in a flat pan with sides holding 1″ of hot water.  Bake the puddings @ 350 degrees F for approximately 30-35 minutes until tops are golden brown and gentle pressure with a finger tip leaves no impression.

Carefully remove pans from hot water and place on a rack to cool. 

*I can’t say whether frozen blackberries would work in this dish or not.  The original recipe called for fresh and that’s all I’ve ever used.

We like this dessert slightly warm or at room temperature.

We used to love this as our dessert after having a supper of a serving of meat and multiple servings of vegetables fresh from the garden (like new potatoes, peas, tomatoes, zucchini, green onions, leaf lettuce, radishes, etc.).

Blueberry Cobbler

I adapted this recipe from one I had posted last summer for a mixed fruit cobbler.  It turned out very well, with a lot of flavorful juice.  The procedure for making cobbler comes from an old cookbook, The Farm Journal Pie Cookbook, and stresses the importance of placing the dough on piping hot fruit.


For the fruit:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tblsp. cornstarch
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 Tblsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

For the dough:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tblsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 Tblsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

To prepare the fruit:

In a medium saucepan, mix 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and boiling water.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil.  Continue cooking and stirring for one more minute.

Remove pan from heat and gently stir in the fresh blueberries.  Pour the fruit mixture into a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish.  Dot with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.

To make the dough:

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  With your hands or a pastry blender, mix in the shortening.  Stir in the milk.  Drop dough by spoonsful onto the hot berry mixture.

Place casserole on a flat pan to catch spills and bake @ 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Best served warm with whipped cream/topping, cream or ice cream.

Servings:  6


A Good Way to Process Lemons

Whenever I find a good buy on lemons in bulk – such as a bag I bought at Sam’s – I process them immediately for the freezer.  I had read that freezing whole lemons was a good idea, but it didn’t work out for me.  I prefer to wash and dry the lemons, then grate all of the peel to be placed in small containers for the freezer.

Then, I juice the lemons, strain out the seeds and pour into a container for the freezer.

From today’s lemons, I got two small containers of peel and a pint of lemon juice.

A few minutes on the kitchen counter will thaw the peel enough to get a teaspoon or two and a minute or two in the microwave thaws the juice enough to measure.  There doesn’t seem to be a problem with re-freezing.

I like to use fresh lemon juice in my cooking and I haven’t been able to notice a difference when using the frozen.  It’s handy when cooking just for my daughter and myself every day or for fixing meals for guests on holidays and weekends.

Pork BBQ and Strawberry Glaze Pie

menusignToday’s lunch menu included an easy Pork Barbecue and an equally easy Strawberry Glaze Pie. I like to buy about 2 lbs. of lean boneless pork ribs (called Pork Loin Gourmet Ribs in my store).  The ribs are cooked overnight in a slow cooker, then the next day the meat is pulled, combined with a sauce and baked in a 300 degree oven for 2 hours.  I like the slow cooker for cooking the pork but prefer the flavor and consistency of the barbecue when it’s baked after the sauce is added.


  • Servings: Approx. 10)
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  • 2 lbs. boneless country style ribs

Trim any fat from meat and place in slow cooker.  Let cook 8-10 hours on low. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F Remove meat from slow cooker, drain and allow to cool until it can be pulled apart.  Place the pulled pork in a 9×9 baking pan. Make the sauce:

  • One 24 oz. bottle of catsup
  • 2 Tblsp. dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tblsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tblsp. dried minced onions
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

Pour the above sauce  ingredients directly on top of the pork in the baking dish. withsauce Mix well and place in preheated 300 degree F oven.  Bake uncovered for two hours, stirring occasionally.  Barbecue is ready at this point but can be covered and kept in a 170 degree F oven until ready to serve. Serve on buns with coleslaw on top or on the side.



Preheat oven to 410 degrees F. Roll out pastry for a single crust, 9″ pie (see my Sure-Fire Crust recipe).  Prick the crust with a fork on the bottom and sides. piercingPut a piece of aluminum foil loosely on top of the crust and fill with dry beans.  I keep a jar filled with a pound of dry beans which I use over and over again. beansBake crust @ 410 degrees F for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and lift out foil with beans.   Place the pie plate back in the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Strawberry Filling and Glaze

  • 5 cups of fresh strawberries, divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tblsp. cornstarch

Hull strawberries and if they are small they can be left whole.  Otherwise, cut in half to make fairly uniform pieces.   Place one cup of strawberries in a small saucepan. Crush berries with a big spoon or potato masher.  Add water.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue simmering for 2 minutes.  Pour the berry mixture through a sieve into another small saucepan. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch – slowly whisk this mixture into the berry/water mixture and place on medium heat.  Cook and whisk constantly until mixture is thick and clear – about 2 minutes. In the baked pie shell, place one-half of the strawberries and top with one-half of the glaze. Repeat with remaining berries and glaze. glaze2 Chill for at least an hour – an inverted pie plate makes a good cover.

coverServe with whipped cream or topping. slice A really tasty lunch – and the leftovers are good, too!