Food & Drink

Cobbled together

Before the late-summer heat takes its toll on the fruit crop, farms, stores and markets are full of the prettiest, most delicious berries, peaches and melons. They taste their best when eaten out of hand, but the next-best way to eat berries and peaches is when they're combined with flour and sugar and turned into old-fashioned desserts.

Cooks like Mary Tyler of Winchester and Judy ­Baumann of Lexington have been ­making fabulous fruit desserts for many summers.

For more than 20 years, ­Tyler and her husband, e_SDHpNorman, have trucked peaches from South Carolina to the Lexington Farmers Market. Customers know her as ”The Peach Lady.“

Some of the recipes she uses for making peach e_SDHpdesserts have been handed down for ­generations. Old-fashioned cobblers, pies, crunches and crumbles can be made at the last minute because most of the ingredients are kept on hand. Sugar, flour, eggs, milk and whatever fruit grows in the garden or in the orchard are mixed up in minutes and proudly displayed.

When we asked our readers to send us their favorites, we got several that really didn't need amounts, just a few things thrown together.

Linda Baker of Lexington sent her grandmother's recipe for deep-dish blackberry ­cobbler.

”It's practically fail-proof and absolutely delicious ­(especially if you make a good pie crust),“ she said.

James Brown, owner of Brown's Bakery, uses a variety of fresh fruits at his bakery on West Main Street. He shares a tip for keeping fruits ­looking great atop cupcakes or tarts. Once the cupcakes have cooled, he spreads Cool Whip on top and adds the fruit. Then he warms apple jelly in a ­microwave and lightly brushes it on the fruit and Cool Whip.

Mini fruit tarts are one of the specialties at the bakery. Here's Brown's recipe for the home cook: Fill mini graham cracker shells with vanilla pudding. Place fresh fruit on top. Heat apple jelly in the microwave and lightly brush on top of the tarts. Refrigerate the tarts for about an hour, Brown said.

With summer fruit at its peak, now's a great time to make cobblers, pies and tarts to serve on warm summer nights.