Producing Food… planting food, tending food, harvesting food, preserving food, cooking food, that was my early childhood, running along barefooted behind my Granny. Learning everything she did by doing it with her, her talking me along, telling me why it was important to hoe the corn, why we needed to plant the melons closest to the creek, how some flowers bloom every other year, like Sweet William, but they came up anyway to add their green coats to the flowers around them. Why planting asparagus was worth the two year wait because it tasted of spring itself, cooked simple and quick especially with scrambled eggs. If I woke early enough I’d go to the hen house with her to gather warm eggs from under sweet hens who seemed to know their purpose was to provide for Granny’s family. She spoke to them as we went along, calling each by name, talking softly, as she did to me… late at night telling stories to help me sleep. Food was her life, feeding good food to her loved ones was her hard work each day, but more importantly it was her joy each day. And the family that gathered around her to tell stories and play music and share the lives they lived, that was her entertainment. Whatever we were eating, there was always something sweet at the end, a fruit pie or slice of cake or bread pudding make from leftover biscuits and eggs. Sometimes it was cinnamon apple jelly on a butter biscuit, or honey on cornbread, just a little sweet kiss to to close the meal and make the day brighter.
One of my fondest memories were the fruit pies that Granny made. I don’t remember ever having buttermilk pie or chess pie, didn’t have those until I was grown. Granny loved the tartness of a good fruit pie. Blackberry was my special favorite, maybe because blackberries were so hard to actually get to. Peach pies were made with the peaches off of Granny’s trees, and sometimes these two fruits ended up together in a pie or cake, because they came in at the same time. One of the things I have eaten all my life is a peach cake. Something most people have never heard of, or they think it is some kind of a layer cake with peaches as the filling. That actually sounds like something someone would make that had some time on their hands, beautiful and excellent but not something a farmer with corn to hoe would have time to make. Pies are quick, cakes usually not. But this one is very quick and so tart sweet incredible you will want to have it for breakfast the next day. You can make this with all peaches, you can make it with all blackberries or you can combine the two.
Deep Dish Blackberry, Peach Cake
4 pints of blackberries rinsed (or 8 pints if you are just doing blackberries)
6 big peaches peeled and cut into 2″ chunks (or 16 if just peaches, if you’ve got small peaches use more)
1 stick of butter cut into small pieces
1/2 to 1 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet the fruit is or how sweet you like your cake)
1 tablespoon corn starch
Put all of the above in a deep buttered casserole dish and mix together, let it all get to know each other while you make the cake batter. I use an old Corning Ware deep casserole dish about 5 inches deep.
Yellow Cake batter for top,
1 1/2 plus 1/8 cup of cake flour sifted then measured
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
scant 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter softened
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole milk
sift flour baking powder salt into a bowl and stir together, sit aside
In a mixer beat butter until creamy add sugar beat on high until light and fluffy
Put mixer on low and add eggs 1 at a time and then egg yolk
beat in Vanilla
Add flour mixture at low speed in 3 additions alternating with milk in 2 additions just until mixed.
Pour batter over fruit and spread evenly, dot top with an additional 1/2 stick of butter
Bake at 350 degrees about an hour until top is brown and center is set, check with toothpick.
Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.
Yep! you’ll be eating this for breakfast the next day.
Keep leftovers if there are any in the refrigerator.