The Pleiades shared their secrets, but I was left alone. How dark the world looked when I saw it through a makeshift telescope, a paper towel roll that someone else had bought and thrown away. There is muscle memory for imagination; I’m exercising that muscle more and more now that I have moved back home. To the house I grew up in. Where I spent my summers as a child, eating canned ravioli and swimming in the creek behind my house. I read books about dragons. Somehow magic seems more real to me than loving the brother I never see.
Forgiveness isn’t a muscle I train very well. It’s not one I’m used to, so I’ve let it atrophy since I left home.
Since I moved to California.
Since I was in law school.
Since I moved to Texas.
Since I was unemployed.
Since I studied art and smoked a pack a day.
Since I stayed with a male go-go dancer whose name I could never pronounce.
Since I ate nothing but stale bagels from my work.
Since I left it all behind to start again and again and again, rebuilding homes from whispered promises when I was wrapped in another person’s arm.
Back when those kisses were flint and my imagination was tinder. I let my world burn down more than once. I’m nothing if not consistent.
And when I came home, it all changed for me. I could smell the summer on the frost. I could tell it was different now, that there were creek rocks that had my initials carved in them and a stunted rose bush grew where I buried my first rabbit. That life wasn’t hard and hearts break as easily as a fingernail. And I’ve broken both.
So I sit and I read now. I look for faces in clouds and the veins in marble. I think of the thousand words I want to learn in French and the handful I want to say to my mother. I sleep with my dog, we share a pillow. He breathes so much faster than I do. He hates the air conditioner. I take two baths a day sometimes and I always forget how much cream my mother likes in her coffee, so I’ve given up on pouring hers.
And I’ll never grow angel wings, but I plan on leaving here soon. I’ll probably always mistake the frogs that sing for mockingbirds; but that’s part of who I am here. A great pretender, a secret-keeper, a dreamer with his nose in the air. And I may forget I have a brother from time to time, but the lightning bugs are moving constellations and I can wish on any one of them I choose.
When my eyes have finished adjusting.
This recipe is my ode to summer. To all the fruits they sell in farm stands next to trailer parks in my little hometown in Pennsylvania: stone fruit and ruby berries. The pits in my stomach and the strawberry moon. An ode to all the memories I’m making since I moved back home. I’ll never have anything better, but I’ll dream of winter in Brussels and springtime in the desert soon, when I get too used to waking up content.
Summer Fruit Scone Cobbler
This recipe is about approximations. It's about what feels and tastes right. Know your fruit and make it intuitive. Use more of one fruit and less of another if you'd like. Know how tart or ripe it all is and how it will work together and adjust your flavors and sugar from here. The flour in the fruit portion will make for a nice, gooey mixture. And, finally, do not pack your fruit too tightly in, as the juices are liable to overflow. Use my recipe for the fruit portion as more of a suggestion than as a mandate, because fruit varies as much as personalities can. Yields one cobbler in a 12 to 14 inch pan. And while I know this recipe will fair just fine in any other type of pan, there is something about the gentle and reassuring heat conductivity of copper that gives this recipe a whole added layer of flavor and beauty.
Ingredients for fruit portion:
- 4 peaches, pitted and sliced
- 3 red plums, pitted and sliced
- 8 strawberries, hulled and sliced
- ½ pint of raspberries
- ½ pint of blackberries
- 2 tablespoons Gran Marnier or similar liquor (optional)
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup clover or similarly spiced honey
- ½ tablespoon salt
- zest and juice of half a lemon
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Ingredients for the scone portion:
- 2/3 cup buttermilk, very cold (may need less, depending on altitude and flour absorption)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cornmeal, fine-ground
- ½ cup white sugar + more for sprinkling
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
- ¼ cup of dried cherries
- 2 tablespoon whole milk
- scant ¼ cup sliced almonds
Ingredients for the whipped cream:
- 2 cups heavy cream, cold
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ tablespoon Gran Marnier or similar liquor (optional)
For the fruit portion:
- Prep your baking dish with softened butter, rubbing it into all corners of your dish. Don’t bother skimping—it adds flavor and makes cleanup easier. For the best results for this dish, I chose baking mine in my 28 centimeter Falk copper au gratin pan. A cast iron pan would work as well, but the conductivity of the copper is superb for this dish.
- Cut all of your fruit and add with your berries to a large metal bowl
- Add all remaining fruit portion ingredients (liquor, flour, sugar, honey, salt, lemon zest and juice, orange zest, and vanilla)
- Stir gently with a wooden spoon
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you work on your scone. Fruit will macerate and juices will begin to flow in the bowl during your remaining prep
For the scone portion:
- In a measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Set aside
- In a food processor, pulse together flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder until just combined (one or two pulses)
- Add butter. Pulse 8-10 times or until fats are incorporated into dry ingredients and pea-sized
- With motor running, pour wet ingredients slowly through the feeding tube until a wet dough begins to form
- Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and sprinkle dried cherries on top of dough.
- Pat into a disc that is about 1.25” in thickness and 9 inches in diameter
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes
- While dough is resting, preheat the oven to 425*F
- Remove fruit from refrigerator and pour contents and juices into your prepared au gratin pan, smoothing to make one layer
- After your half hour has elapsed, unwrap your dough and pat back into its disc shape
- Using a sharp, floured knife, cut into 8 sections
- Brush each with your remaining whole milk, sprinkle with sugar and almonds
For the cobbler:
- Place on top of your fruit, evenly spaced apart. Press dough down slightly into your fruit
- When oven is preheated, bake dish for 30-35 minutes. The water content in the fruit juice may cause the bottom of your scones to be slightly less baked than the tops. Begin checking at 30 minutes for a nice, even golden brown on the tops and a paler tan on the bottoms for doneness
- While cobbler is baking, whip your heavy cream, using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer or a hand mixer (or a whisk, if you’re brave enough!)
- When peaks begin to form, slowly add your white sugar, then your confectioner’s sugar
- Heavy, glossy peaks will form; next, add your liquor and extract
- Scrape with a rubber spatula into a dish for serving
- Remove cobbler from the oven when ready and serve immediately
- This dish is good for up to 3 days, if refrigerated and stored properly (but best served warm right out of the oven with a dollop of liquor-spiked cream, in my humble opinion)
This post was created in partnership with Falk Culinair copper cookware. Since 1958, this brand has established itself as one of the most trusted names in the culinary world. With its timeless designs and its multi-use products, every kitchen can benefit from Falk--I know mine has. You can learn more about Falk USA by visiting their website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.