Right now I’m lying on the couch, in between naps, willing our little boy to make his grand entrance. I’m not sure it’s working.
While yesterday was productive, filled with grocery shopping and cleaning and organizing, it’s all I can do to just stay awake today. Thankfully I have one of the easiest recipes to share with you. One thing I will say about pregnancy is that it has inspired some amazing desserts, and this is one of them, a simple rhubarb crisp with sweetened ricotta baked right in.
Boxed cake mix? Whipped cream in a can? These are things that I almost never use, almost never buy, and almost never even think about. But there is a time and a place for everything. This is hands down one of the easiest desserts you will ever throw together.
It requires only five ingredients— cake mix, lemon-lime soda, butter, and fruit. I’ve made this cobbler a hundred different ways with all kinds of fruit and you can’t go wrong. Pick your favorite, what’s in season, or what you happen to have on hand. This time I chose strawberries and blueberries, a winning combination.
Now the next thing you’re going to need to have is a cast iron camp dutch oven. This recipe would of course work well in a standard baking dish in your oven, but since this is part of my series Baking Outside the Kitchen, I want to show you how to bake a cobbler outdoors. And the easiest way to do that is with a camp dutch oven.
Here in Utah we’re pretty serious about our dutch oven cooking. It’s all over the place, from camp grounds to carnivals. It’s even the “state cooking pot” of Utah (thank you Wikipedia), probably because of our rich pioneer heritage. If you don’t have a camp dutch oven or aren’t very familiar with them, I encourage you to look into getting one. They’re a lot of fun and you can cook just about anything with it.
So how does a dutch oven work? Well, let me give a brief explanation for those that need it. After prepping your dish, you cover the pot with a heavy cast iron lid. It’s then placed on top of hot coals to heat from below and more coals are placed on the lid to heat from above. And voila, you have an oven!
Let’s get back to the recipe, shall we?
Like I said, it’s super easy. The fruit goes down in the bottom of the pot and the topping is made with cake mix and lemon-lime soda. As if a cake from a box isn’t simple enough, this is even lazier. But it works! And if you’re baking this away from your home it’s nice to need even fewer ingredients.
After spooning the dough over the fruit, a few dabs of butter and sprinkling of sugar help create a flavorful and nice golden brown cobbler topping. And then it ready to bake! It needs only about twenty minutes in the dutch oven and when you can start smelling the fragrance of baked fruit, you know you’re about there.
This is my go-to dessert while we’re camping since it requires only a few simple ingredients and is so simple to put together. Plus, in my opinion it’s as good as cobbler made with ingredients from scratch. And it’s hard to resist something so yummy that you can enjoy anywhere, and doesn’t require turning on the oven on a hot summer day.
I love Fall. I love the beautiful fall colors. I love wearing jackets and scarves. I love the anticipation of the approaching holidays. And I love Fall comfort food.
Curling up inside with something warm, satisfying, and delicious while outside is cold and dreary is one of my favorite things. Add in a movie or a good book and some cuddling with my man, and I’m set.
We’ve been having unseasonably warm weather here in Utah, but I know it can’t last. I can sense that the weather is changing. Rain, cold and dare I say it…snow? is coming, and soon.
I welcome the change with this Apple Crisp. Nothing is more Fall to me than the smell of apples and cinnamon baking together in the oven. I’m tempted to keep one of these in the oven at all times, so my house can perpetually smell fantastically Fall.
If you’re looking for a simple way to bring Fall into your home, this is it. You can throw it together in a matter of minutes with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Serve it hot, straight from the oven, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for maximum effect.
Eat the leftovers the next morning for breakfast, if you want. It’s hearty and not too sweet for first thing in the morning. You can skip the ice cream, or not, I won’t tell.
Adapted from Betty Crocker
Makes 4-6 servings
2 medium tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 all-purpose flour
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Whipped cream or ice cream, if desired
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8 inch baking dish.
In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, and nutmeg and stir. Add the butter and cut it into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture is crumbly. Spread the sliced apples into the baking dish and sprinkle evenly with the topping.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until the topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.
I spent last weekend at my family cabin in McCall, Idaho. I don’t get to see my family very often and I always look forward to this annual gathering. If you’ve never been to McCall, you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s one of my most favorite places. We spent the weekend boating, swimming, playing games and enjoying each other’s company. I love it, it was very hard to come home.
On Sunday we went on a leisurely hike where I was specifically on the lookout for huckleberries. Huckleberries are small wild berries similar to blueberries, and they are delicious. And hard to find. It’s a little early yet for them to be in season but I was overjoyed to find some ripe and ready for the picking. Pretty soon we were all spread out from the trail, picking all we could find.
It takes a long time to gather a substantial amount of Huckleberries, but we did it! No wonder they are so expensive (if you can even find them). I hadn’t gone Huckleberry picking in years, and it was fun and the fresh berries definitely made it worth the trouble.
I had already planned on making a peach cobbler in the dutch oven after dinner that evening and I knew adding the huckleberries would send it over the top. And it did, the flavor combination was incredible! The sweet peaches, the tart huckleberries and the soft cakey topping— a perfect summertime dessert.
I love baking cobblers in the dutch oven. They are my favorite dessert to bake this way, as there’s just something special about it. You can certainly use any cobbler recipe, but I like this one because it uses a pre-made baking mix and since I most often use the dutch oven when we’re camping, the fewer ingredients, the better.
One of the nice things about a recipe like this is it’s extremely adaptable. If you can’t find huckleberries, don’t fret. Blueberries will substitute just fine, or omit the berries altogether. And you can also bake this in the oven in a regular baking dish, but if you have a camping dutch oven, give it a try. It’s more fun!
However you prepare it, top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and enjoy. We certainly did.
Dutch Oven Huckleberry Peach Cobbler
Adapted from Paula Deen
Makes 8-10 servings
For the fruit:
6-7 large peaches, peeled and sliced
1 pint fresh huckleberries or blueberries (optional)
2 tablespoons baking mix, such as Bisquick
1 tablespoon sugar
dash of cinnamon
For the topping:
2 1/4 cup baking mix, such as Bisquick
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling
Prepare charcoal, if using. You’ll need approximately 45 coals. Otherwise, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 12 or 14 inch dutch oven or other baking dish.
In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients for the topping. The mixture will be thick. Set aside.
Toss the fruit together with the baking mix, sugar, and cinnamon. Place in the dutch oven or baking dish and spoon pieces of the prepared dough on top. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
When the coals are white, they’re ready. Cover the dutch oven and place over 15 of the coals and place the rest of the coals on top (the general rule is twice as many on top as on bottom). Rotate the oven over the coals after 15 minutes to promote even cooking. The cobbler is finished with the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling through, about 25 minutes.
Alternatively, bake in your oven for 25-30 minutes.
Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
I usually stop off on my way home from work Friday evening to pick up any necessary food items for the weekend. My list is typically fairly short-milk, eggs, bananas, that sort of stuff-and so I opt for the small basket over the large cart. But it never fails that twenty minutes later I’m hoisting my overflowing basket onto the checkout conveyor belt not labeled 15 Items or Less.
I get sidetracked. I can’t pass up the lovely display of fresh fruit, the amazing deal on chocolate chips, or I suddenly realize that we are out of bacon (and a weekend without bacon is nothing to get excited about). And so my basket fills and gets heavier with every passing aisle.
This happened last Friday. Immediately inside the store I stopped short at a case full of blackberries labeled 10 for $10.00. Just a dollar each! I grabbed six containers and continued with my shopping trip and the rest of my evening.
But what on earth was I going to do with all of those blackberries?
I pulled out several cookbooks and each one had a lovely recipe for blackberry cobbler. It seemed meant to be. I finally decided on Pioneer Woman’s recipe because it was the odd one, so very different from all of the others. I’m not sure it even is a cobbler, but I figured I should try it and decide for myself. And besides, it required a remarkably small amount of ingredients and I really didn’t want to make another shopping trip (we all know how that would go).
So I gave it a shot. I admit I was very skeptical. Rather than a biscuit-type dough, she uses almost a cake-like batter. And the blackberries go on top of the batter, not the other way around. I was expecting more of a light cake studded with blackberries rather than anything resembling a traditional cobbler. It came out of the oven smelling amazing, but there weren’t any blackberries in sight. I knew they were down there somewhere, and so I dug in.
First my spoon had to break through the crispy layer created by a sprinkling of sugar to the top before and during baking. Then there was a thick, soft, and cakey layer. Finally, down at the bottom were my bargain blackberries. I’m not sure they were supposed to sink, but I liked it. It looked more like a cobbler.
I ate nearly half the cobbler myself immediately with some vanilla ice cream, standing at the kitchen counter. I learned right away not to judge a recipe by its title. Cobbler, cake, something-in-between, whatever this dish it, it’s delicious and deserves its day in the sun. Thank you, Pioneer Woman for the life lesson. Also, thank you $1.00 blackberries. My freezer is stocked and I’m looking forward to blackberry cobblers all summer long.
Pioneer Woman’s Blackberry Cobbler
From The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Makes 6-8 servings
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup while milk
2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 3-quart baking dish with butter.
Rinse the blackberries and dry on a paper towel. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup of the sugar, the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the milk and combine. Add the melted butter and whisk until smooth. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish. Scatter the top with all of the blackberries. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar over the top.
Bake for approximately 1 hour or until edges are crispy. When 10 minutes remain of cooking time, sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream, or both.