Friday, July 11, 2008
We just got back from visiting my mother-in-law in Fresno, California. It was no accident we planned our trip for July. July is stone fruit season in Fresno.
Of course, I wanted to go to a u-pick orchard. I thought it would be easy to find one. There are so many u-pick options in Oregon, but I guess Fresno’s not the same. Or maybe we just didn’t know where to look. I searched the internet while my mother-in-law phoned her friends and family for leads. They sent us to visit the jam lady in Reedley, about half an hour south of Fresno. “Turn right past the river and go to the house at the top of the hill,” they said. At least it was something to go on.
It was the last day of our trip. After a beautiful drive through citrus and stone fruit orchards, we found the jam lady at the Top of the Hill Farm. She invited us in, it was like she was expecting us. The old farm house was cluttered with antique cookware and jars of jam in all of the colors of the rainbow. The jam lady offered to take us to see the pomegranate jelly being made. A private tour! I love to see where and how my food is made, but I usually have to tell my husband to create a distraction while I sneak into the kitchen.
I tasted every flavor of her jam until my teeth hurt. I picked out the Santa Rosa Plum Jam, Yellow Peach Jam, Three Berry Jam, Apricot Jam, Pomegranate Jelly, and Meyer Lemon Marmalade to take home with me.
(My belly was so full of jam, I almost skipped lunch. Almost, but not quite.)
Then I asked the jam lady where to go for u-pick fruit. She walked us right across her driveway and into her orchard.
One stop shopping, how convenient! Before I knew it we had an enormous box full of soft and juicy white peaches, nectarines, and plums.
My mother-in-law mentioned making a cobbler, and the thought stuck with me.
Stone Fruit Cobbler
2 large peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into eighths
2 large nectarines, peeled, pitted, and cut into eighths
8 small plums, peeled, pitted, and quartered
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced, plus more for greasing the baking dish
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
¼ cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Combine the peaches, nectarines, plums, ¼ cup of the sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and vanilla in a large bowl and toss to coat. Butter an 11×7-inch baking dish. Transfer the fruit mixture to the baking dish.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and remaining ½ cup of sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add the cream and pulse until the dough just comes together.
Spread the crust mixture evenly over the fruit in the baking dish.
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling around the edges. Let cool slightly and serve.
Makes enough for 6 or 8. Perfect with vanilla ice cream.