Lazy Mama Pie

by Lisa Rosen on June 23, 2011

Here’s a sad/good story.

Sunday afternoon, when I went out for my second attempt to squeeze in a run between thunderstorms, I got trapped in the car, and didn’t feel like making the mad dash for the door in all that lightning.  So I did what any curious wannabe-baker would do:  I followed the blackberry sign at the end of the road.  I love any kind of berries, and I was hoping the sign would lead me to something wonderful.

From the road it looked promising–a gentle slope, planted with tidy rows of arching berry canes.  Even from the car I could see that the fruit was ready to be picked.

A couple of days later, feeling a little antsy, I slipped out while Lee was on a protracted phone call, intending to go buy enough berries to make a few test jars of blackberry jam.

The signs were all gone.

Undeterred, I retraced my steps and found that beautiful berry field.  Still no signs.  Again undeterred, I drove in, up a long, steep driveway, to a tidy little house on top of the hill.  At that point, I was feeling a bit more deterred, mainly by the large dog barking at me from the garage.  So I just sat in my car until someone came to see what I wanted.

The woman said that yes, they still had berries, but there had been hail damage, and they’d had to file a claim with the FDA.  So I’d have to pick my own, if I wanted any, but they’d be real cheap–as in, free.  She gave me a few containers, showed me where to park, and said I was welcome to all I wanted.

I was stunned.  So stunned, in fact, that I picked four quarts, took them home, and went back with a much bigger container to pick more.  We now have a LOT of huge, juicy, dead-ripe blackberries.

The husband finally came out and explained the situation:  they are contract growers for a company that sells to grocery stores.  The company will only accept a blemish-free crop, so even though a lot of the berries were still beautiful and perfectly edible, some of them were damaged, so the entire contract was forfeit.  They had no choice but to file a crop-loss claim, and once they do that, they are prohibited from selling any portion of what’s left.  So all those beautiful berries are just going to waste, unless friends and family (and curious neighbors like me) go pick them and put them to use.

It’s terribly sad for those nice folks, and for all those wasted berries, but  pretty amazing for us.

I made my stand-by cobbler; an old recipe of my mother’s that I’ve committed to memory.  It goes with any kind of fruit, calls for just a few pantry staples, and comes together in five minutes flat–the perfect travel recipe.

Lazy Mama Pie

Ingredients:

–A bunch of fruit, prepared for baking (for berries, this means rinsed and drained–enough to cover the bottom of a pie plate and pile up in the center; maybe a quart and a half, or so)
–1 cup of flour (I prefer all-purpose, but this time I only had white-wheat, so that’s what I used)
–1 1/4 t. baking powder
–1/2 t. salt
–1 cup sugar
–1 cup milk
–1 oz. canola oil

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a deep pie dish (or an 8-inch-square baking dish, or whatever similar-sized container you have on hand) with pan spray.  Dump in the berries.  Sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of sugar, depending on how sweet the berries are.

Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Stir in the milk and oil.  Pour this mixture over the berries.  Don’t bother stirring, just push the berries down a little so most of them are mostly submerged.

Bake till it’s quite brown, probably close to an hour; the cobbler photographed above was actually a little underdone on the inside (we don’t mind runny cobbler, but you might).

Let it cool a little, then sit and watch the thunderstorms roll in over the mountains while you enjoy a  bowl of the freshest cobbler possible.

 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Amelia June 24, 2011 at 6:28 am

I think you hit the jackpot! I’m jealous, but oh so happy for you. The pie looks amazing. Thanks for the recipe.

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Lisa Rosen June 24, 2011 at 9:45 am

Amelia–Just so you know, the original recipe called for a stick of butter, melted in the dish. Add the fruit, then pour in the flour/sugar/milk mixture. Don’t bother stirring. My way is much lower in fat, of course, but if you can afford the calories, the original is pretty tasty. 🙂

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