Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mrs. Freeman's Plum Cobbler


Mrs. Freeman was one of those neighbors that you don't forget. When I was a bike riding 10 year old in Springfield, she was the neighbor who waved hello. From early spring to late fall, she'd spend her days tending her beautiful gardens. Her Craftsman style house had a big wrap around porch, similar to ours and she lined the banisters with potted plants, little pots of blooming beauties that she watered with a tiny metal watering can. Out on the east side of her house, she had a rain barrel that she'd dip from... walking back and forth to the porch to water. Mrs. Freeman was in her 80's, she was a retired nurse who had lost her husband years before. My Mom would visit with Mrs. Freeman too, over the fence. They would stand for what seemed like hours, talking, sharing recipes and just being neighborly. That's what we used to call it, being neighborly.

It's not so common anymore. Life has got too complicated. There's not enough time in the day for chit chat, for one thing people are gone from home with work or errands or other commitments. Even I have days in a row that I leave early and come home late and it's not even a paying job that keeps me away from home! Mom used to call it having a "full plate," too many irons in the fire. That fits me to a T!

Whenever I see a pink blooming tree, I think of her and how pretty her backyard would be every spring. I loved to visit her and we would have long conversations as she poured jams and jellies into baby food jars.These would be gifts for neighbors, "Just a little something from my garden," she'd say. The most vivid memories are of her beautiful garden. Just out the screen door was a wonderland of stone paths and beds of blue delphiniums, white roses and pink peonies. The yard was dotted with plum, apple and pear trees and as we'd walk, her big orange kitty would follow- tail held high and swirling around our legs. It was an idyllic moment in time that I hold in my heart.


Mrs. Freeman's Plum Cobbler Print
For the topping:
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup light brown sugar packed, or more, depending on your fruit
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A pinch of salt
1 1/2 pounds plums, pitted, halved if small, quartered if large

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a small saucepan melt butter over low heat and pour in the sugar; Remove from heat and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is well blended. Stir in the egg yolk and vanilla. Add the flour and stir until combined. Refrigerate the dough and pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
Combine the cornstarch with the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Add the plums and toss gently to coat. Pour the plums into an 8-inch square baking dish. Drop the dough by spoonfuls over the fruit to cover. Bake in the pre-heated oven until the juices are bubbly and the top is golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. Let stand to cool slightly before serving. Serves 4-6.
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*If you'd like to read more about Mrs. Freeman, go HERE.

14 comments:

  1. I love your header!... and the cobbler sounds delicious...one of my favorite desserts is a home made cobbler.

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    1. Thanks so much Karen, it's BIG enough that's for shure! The daffodils are blooming everywhere on our mountain right now!

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  2. what a wonderful memory of a beautiful woman and her garden and heart. :)

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    1. After all these years, she still has a place in my heart. She was such a nice lady.

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  3. I don't recall ever having plum cobbler. Surely I must have, because my grandparents had some plum trees and my grandmother was always cooking, or baking something. I do remember having apple pie, from her apple trees.

    I also remember having neighborly neighbors when I was young. Not so much anymore.

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    1. Plums are so beautiful in a cobbler, all ruby red and deelicious! Kind of on the tart side which I like so much more than sweet.

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  4. That sounds so good! I am going to save this recipe to use when our plums are ripe :)
    Thanks Kim

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    1. Lucky you to have plum trees! I need to get off my duff and plant some fruit trees...

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  5. thank you for this...I made apple crisp tonight which looked more like cobbler..but never even heard of plum cobbler..I learn something new everyday!
    thanks!!

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    1. It's so good, tart like a berry cobbler!

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  6. Oh, her yard and gardens sound lovely. Neighbors like that are surely a rarity these days. Everyone lives such compartmentalized lives these days. In some ways are modern ways are not always better. I used to have a neighbor that would walk over and chat all the time. She talked to everyone like that. If she was with me when I gathered eggs in the morning, I would fill her hands with them to take back home with her. But due to age and health, she had to move away to be closer to family and doctors. She is missed. Those little talks over a garden fence are good things.

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    1. We've been lucky through the years to have good neighbors. Mrs. Freeman stands out in my childhood memories, she was so kind. I can just see her tending her flowers...

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  7. Oh how I love daffodils. They remind me of my dad, he had a big patch of them, all different varieties. Every spring he would pick a bunch, hop in his car and bring them to me. God I miss him!!

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    Replies
    1. What a sweet memory of your Dad! It's funny how things trigger those great memories and bring them back to us...

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