Stella's regular Friday customer, June, who tends to order the soup of the day, no matter the weather, has a special request. "Stella, dear," she says, her aged but strong right arm leaning on the counter like she means business. "I'm going to be celebrating a milestone birthday this week."
"Are you? Well, isn't that wonderful," says Stella wishing she could ask June which particular milestone this birthday represents. "I hope you will be celebrating appropriately."
"That's where you come in, my dear," says June, her arm still resting on the counter and her head leaning in conspiratorily toward Stella's. "I want to have a little afternoon tea here with Harvey and some of our friends, and I want you to make us something special to have with our tea."
"Something special? Okay, how about a nice vanilla bean layer cake or maybe some tiramisu?"
"No, no, nothing fancy. What I would really like is an old lady dessert, nothing too rich."
"Oh, I see. Hmmm...oh, I know, the blueberries this year are wonderful. I could make you a nice cobbler and serve it with vanilla ice cream. I made one for the girls just the other day, and it was very nice. How does that sound?"
June suddenly jerks up to her full height and claps her hands together. "Fresh blueberry cobbler would be absolutely perfect!"
"Well, we do aim to please," says Stella. "When would you like to have your tea?
"Would this Friday be too soon? That is my actual birthday, and we would like to come in and have some nice sandwiches, too."
"I'm sure that can be arranged. Shall we reserve your usual table? For how many?"
"Yes, that would be wonderful. There should be six of us" says June. "Well, tra-la-la! Isn't that something to look forward to? Yes it is indeed."
Stella glances beyond June to the other waiting customers, then back at June. "Alright, June. We will see you on Friday afternoon then."
June turns around to face the lineup. "I'm sorry everyone, just planning my birthday celebration," she says loudly. "I'll leave quietly now like a polite old lady." She turns and waves to Stella. "Goodbye my dear. You are a gem, an absolute gem."
Stella, not batting an eyelash, looks enquiringly at the next couple, a pair in their twenties who have obviously perfected the look of stylish ennui, as they reach the counter. "Can I help you?"
Fresh Blueberry Cobbler from The Joy of Cooking
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees farenheit. Have ready an unbuttered enameled cast-iron, earthenware, or glass baking pan of about 2-quart (2 litre) capacity and 2 inches deep. (A glass pie pan, a pottery dish such as the one pictured above, or a 12 inch gratin dish will all work well.)
Wash and drain well:
3 pints (six cups) blueberries
Combine and toss with the berries:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour or two Tbsps cornstarch
1 teaspoon grated lime zest (or a combo of lemon and lime zest)
Spread evenly in the baking dish. Prepare Sour Cream Cobbler Biscuit Dough:
Sour Cream Cobbler Biscuit Dough:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour (or whatever combo suits you of whole wheat and all purpose flours, as long as it makes a total of 1 and 1/3 cup)
2 Tbsps sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsps cold butter, cut into small pieces
Toss with the dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add:
1/2 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup milk or cream whisked together.
Mix with a fork only until the dough comes together and can be rolled or patted. Gently knead the dough 5-10 times if needed, turning and pressing any loose pieces into the dough. Dust the top and bottom of the dough with a little flour, then roll or pat the dough with your hands to the shape of the top of the baking dish, between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick. (You can also cut the dough into circles or other shapes and place on top of the berries. The finished product will resemble cobblestones, hence the name cobbler.) If leaving the dough whole, cut three small holes for steam vents. Place the dough on the fruit. Lightly brush the top with 1-2 Tbsps milk and dust with 1 Tbsp sugar. Bake the cobbler until the top is golden brown and the juices have thickened slightly, 45-50 minutes. It is a good idea to place a pan underneath the dish to catch any juices.
Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve with:
Softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.