Suffice it to say that I am not Shomer Shabbat [sho-MAYR shah-BAHT], which means observing the Jewish sabbath from Friday night to Saturday night; all forms of work are forbidden, so as to make it a true day of rest. (This includes everything from driving to shopping to carrying items to cooking.) So I will be shopping at the market, to see what sights and smells and seduction await me.
Now, I do light candles to welcome Shabbat, and I can even recite the blessing in Hebrew.
Bah-ROOK ah-TAH Ah-doh-NYE eh-loh-HAY-nu meh-LECK hah-oh-LAHM ah-SHAYR keed-SHAH-nu bay-mitz-voh-TAHV vay-tzee-VAH-nu lay-had-LEEK nayr shel shah-BAHT. (Ah-mayn.)
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to light the lights of Shabbat. (Amen.)
But to me, a day of rest involves my favorite forms of relaxation -- cooking and baking. So I will drive to get to the Market, shop, carry items home, turn on the oven, and then chop and stir even though all of these activities are verboten to those who observe the Shabbat laws. I cannot imagine any concept of rest that didn't involve doing this. Sitting and bemoaning not being able to acquire and utilize seasonal goodies from the farmers who grew and harvested them would be inordinately stressful to me, not restful.
And so, this being the beginning of berry season -- with Michigan's specialty, tart cherries, due around July 4! -- a lovely dessert for a Shabbat meal or for a post-church Sunday dinner is a fruit cobbler. It's ridiculously easy, and is ideal when made with fresh fruit. But you could also use frozen (defrosted) fruits as well, as I did when I added the last of my tart cherries from last summer. Just add whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, and you will have found yourself a little piece of Heaven ... :)
Cherry Berry Cobbler
(Adapted slightly from Marcia Adams' Cooking From Quilt Country)
4 cups assorted berries and pitted cherries
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1-1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a 9" glass pie pan.
In a large bowl, combine fruit, sugar, cornstarch and extract; pour into the pie pan, and set the pie pan onto a baking sheet covered in foil.
In the same bowl (why wash extra dishes???), combine the flour, baking powder and salt. With your fingers, mix in the butter until the mixture resembles meal.
Combine the egg and the milk, pour over the flour, and stir just until combined.
Place large spoonsful of the batter over the fruit, covering most of it. Combine the brown sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle over the top of the cobbler.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown and the juices are bubbling. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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