Food has always been, and will always be, a defining aspect of a region’s culture. To many food is not only a means of survival but also a means of expression. Dishes are passed down from generation to generation reflecting the harvest that year, the changes in culture, and new trends. Western Virginia is an area scattered with small mountain towns, each with their own traditions and recipes. The New Blue Ridge Cookbook examines the traditional foods and recipes of the Blue Ridge. Throughout September we will be attempting to create some of these traditional recipes and sharing them with you.
Upon first reading the words “mountain pie” most readers probably shuttered with fear at what a mountain pie could possibly consist of. But, rest easy, a mountain pie is pretty much a cobbler. Nothing too scary or intimidating about a cobbler. In fact, for most, cobblers are sweet reminders of childhoods and picnics. For our cobbler we chose a filling native to our great state, blueberries. Blueberries are actually one of the few fruits that predate the European Settlers in North America. Blueberries have been picked and enjoyed in North America as long as people, and some bears, have been here. Blueberries can be found throughout the Blue Ridge region, along with blackberries which also make a good cobbler filling.
While no one can say with certainty when and where the cobbler was birthed into existence it is widely accepted that the cobbler is an American creation. When European settlers arrived in North American they brought their traditional recipes for pie with them. Quickly finding that the ‘new world’ did not have the same ingredients readily available that Europe offered they were forced to improvise. Through some experimentation came the cobbler, and in the mountains of Virginia that cobbler was given the name mountain pie. Our mountain pie recipe comes from Blacksburg and can be found on page 8 of The New Blue Ridge Cookbook.
1) The first step in baking this dessert is to gather your ingredients and utensils. This dish requires surprisingly few ingredients and steps, which is important for those of us with little baking experience!
*Milk- 3/4 cup
*Baking Powder-1 1/2 tsp
*Sugar-1 1/2 cup
*Pan-13 by 9
*Large Mixing Spoons
2) Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Place the stick of butter in the pan and then in the oven to melt the butter.
3) Begin by mixing the flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Then slowly stir in the milk. 1/4 a cup at a time is usually a pretty good pace. Continue stirring until completely mixed, a metal wisk will really help you get the batter nice and smooth.
4) Remove the pan from the oven after the butter is completely melted. Make sure you spread the butter on the sides of the pan so nothing will stick.
5) Add your batter to the butter in the pan. The batter should cover the entire base of the pan.
6) Mix the remaining sugar in with your blueberries.
7) Add the blueberries and sugar to the pan. The berries will sink through the batter as it bakes.
8) Bake for about an hour. Since every oven is different check on the dish periodically and adjust your baking time. The berries should be on the bottom, and the batter should be solid, and slightly browned.
9) Let the cobbler cool, then cut and serve!
For a little extra deliciousness we suggest some vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt on the side!
This dessert is simple and delicious! The New Blue Ridge Cookbook also suggests using peaches in this recipe.