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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Vegan Blackberry Cobbler (Grammie-Style)

When I was growing up, I was fortunate to have not only my grandparents living close by, but also my great-grandmother (Grammie) and her sister (Auntie). And when I say close by, I mean like a mile away. Every day after school, when we were young, my brother and I would get babysat at Grammie and Auntie's house, where we would indulge in behavior that was not sanctioned by our parents, like eating rainbow-hued cereals and sweetened packaged oatmeal for after-school snacks and watching cartoons in the middle of the afternoon.

Grammie, 1941
(long before her days of babysitting me)

Those are my memories from my younger childhood; as I got older, the things I remember more about Grammie and Auntie were Grammie's amazing cooking skills (and her love of sharing them with her family) and Auntie's incredible talent for gardening (I think she was mowing her own [huge] lawn well into her nineties).

The two best things that Grammie cooked (in my opinion) were lefse (a traditional Norwegan holiday potato-flatbread-type-thing, maybe I'll post about that at Thanksgiving) and blackberry cobbler, which I always requested instead of cake for my birthday. When I was old enough to be interested, she taught me to make both of these delicious concoctions. Here is her blackberry cobbler recipe, veganized of course, but it tastes just the same!
Grammie's Berry Cobbler

3/4 cup unrefined sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons soy margarine
3/4 cup soymilk
4-5 cups blackberries (fresh or frozen)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together 3/4 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the soy margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add soymilk and mix until moistened. Spread batter in a greased 9x13 pan. Well, it won't exactly spread but just try to plop it in there evenly, like so:

Combine the blackberries, 3/4 cup sugar, and almond extract (if you're lazy like me, just use the same bowl you used to mix the batter - a little berry-batter cross contamination never hurt anyone) and pour over the top of the batter. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the top of everything and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and the berries are all bubbly, like this:

The original recipe called for a full teaspoon of almond extract, and I liked it that way just fine, but Matt thought it was too much so I've halved it for his benefit, but I kind of liked it the old way. (Ah, the sacrifices we make for our spouses.)

The original recipe only called for 25-30 minutes baking time, but it always takes a lot longer than that for me. I may have mentioned this before, but I have an old oven so your results may be different from mine.
Now the only problem is, I made this cobbler today but it's for Father's Day dessert tomorrow - how am I going to resist it for the next 24 hours? I might have to hide it from myself. Tomorrow is going to be a very indulgent day, foodwise. My mom and stepdad are coming over for homemade vegan cinnamon rolls in the morning and my dad and stepmom are coming over for vegan lasagna (I'll try to post that recipe tomorrow night) and blackberry cobbler. Yum!

Tonight, Carlos and I had homemade pizza with VeganRella, zucchini, olives, and mushrooms. And now I have a confession to make. I am not a perfect vegan. I struggle with the vegan cheese issue, and for the last several months, I have been eating Veggie Shreds, which contain casein (for you non-vegans, casein is derived from milk protein or some such thing). My rationalization had something to do with taste and something to do with price - the truly vegan cheeses are so much more expensive!

Well, I've decided to buckle down and be a better vegan, which just means I'm on a quest to find a decent vegan cheese. I don't eat it that often, but I do like to make pizza from time to time. The VeganRella we had tonight was just okay. I was fine with the flavor, but the texture was disappointing. In the past, the most common complaint I've heard about vegan cheese is that it doesn't melt; well, I'm thinking the makers of VeganRella were trying to correct that problem and overcompensated a bit, because this stuff was super melty, like annoyingly so. It was almost watery, and when you bit into it it kind of coated your teeth and stuck to everything. Not good. So - does anyone have suggestions for vegan cheese that (1) melts, (2) doesn't taste like feet, and (3) doesn't coat your mouth and lips with a strange clinging goo???


Adorned by Morgan said...

Hey there,

I actually like Follow Your Heart cheese. It melts decently and if you shred a whole block of it, you can freeze whatever you don't use for a long time.

Tofutti slices are OK, but apparently they have a large fat content or somesuch. I tend to use the American version in tacos.

I definitely miss real cheese pizza though, and I have yet to gain access to other brands. And oh man-- I totally hear you on the cost factor. I guess that's pretty much what most vegan foods are like in terms of processed or pre-made stuff. Sigh!

Let me know if you come up with something fun instead-- the pizza you posted looks good! Sorry it didn't taste as well hehe.


JudyM said...

Tamara, what a wonderful post! Your memories about Grammie and Auntie are so great, it makes me remember also. I learned so much about cooking from Grammie, and about gardening from Auntie (although she was more quiet in her ways). I might try the cobbler recipe (one of my favorites of hers was her strawberry/rhubarb pie).
Sounds like a busy day of cooking and entertaining on Father's did it go?
Love, Judy

girl least likely to said...

like rachel, i use FYH cheese for pizzas. it works pretty well if you give it a spritz of water and put the broiler on for the last few minutes of baking... it melts and bubbles and everything. whee!

The Lazy Vegan said...

Thanks for the vegan cobbler recipe! It actually looks not only delicious but "lazy" enough for even me to make. :-) And I know what you mean about the cheese struggle. (Confession time: I'm actually allergic to dairy, or I wouldn't be completely vegan ;-) ). Thanks to Rachel, too, for the recommendation for Follow Your Heart cheese. I'll have to look it up. :-)

Kim (The Lazy Vegan)

Zain Christopher said...

Great cobbler recipe! It's folks like you who help expand an openness to vegan cuisine. I've found that whenever looking up a recipe online, adding "vegan" to the search helps to ensure the ingredients will also be geared more toward the natural food/ gourmet direction what is likely to appear on the screen otherwise. One slight modification: instead of almond extract, I opted for an inch of freshly ground ginger root. Splendid! The Grammie endorsement always helps, too (^-^)v

Anonymous said...

You pour the filling on top of the crust? Does the crust rise through the filling or something? I have never seen such a thing. Go figure!

(Looks yummy)

Tamara said...

Yes, as it bakes, the batter kind of rises up through the berries and it all melds together very nicely. :-)

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