Summerville cook inspired by deep family roots in Lowcountry
Harriet Little of Summerville is a good cook and a longtime contributor to this column.
Harriet saw the request for peach cobbler and promptly responded, sharing her late mother’s recipe that appeared in the local cookbook, “Epiphany Celebrates.”
The cookbook, published in 2004, is the work of the Episcopal Church Women of The Church of the Epiphany, established in 1804. The historic church is in Eutawville, where Harriet grew up and her Sinkler family has deep roots.
She is not reticent about giving her age, 76, and for good reason — she’s active. The day we spoke she had spent the morning sorting books for a sale.
“I manage for an old lady,” she jokes.
Harriet says her mother, Madeline Champy Sinkler, was an excellent cook. And Madeline Sinkler learned a lot from her mother-in-law, Harriet Palmer Sinkler, for whom Harriet was named.
Grandmother “never used a cookbook because the family cookbook had burned in a fire. You would think the family cooks would get together and try to put recipes together. But apparently they didn’t.
“And so, I can see my grandmother, until she was 90 years old ... she had a big work table in her kitchen and she would mix up her dough for rolls — she was well-known for sweet rolls — and she would sit there, no haste whatsoever, and grab a small quantity of dough and form it in her hand, and put it in the pan. ... And that’s kind of the way she cooked, by what she remembered.”
Growing up, Harriet wasn’t very excited about cooking — she loved to sew instead — but her mother insisted that she learn. Harriet was assigned to cook one meal a week. She says she resisted it until one year in college when she took over the cooking for the summer, as her mother was busy with raising a bunch of turkey poults.
The difference was, “I was doing the shopping and the planning and that got me interested in cooking. That’s when I started baking bread.”
At any rate, for anyone interested in the “Epiphany Celebrates” cookbook, it’s still available. Call the church at (803) 492-7644.
For her mother’s peach cobbler, Harriet says she usually uses self-rising flour in this recipe and therefore omits the baking powder and salt, but otherwise makes no changes.
“I like it because it is simple, and as the batter rises through the fruit, it picks up the flavor.”
She also says other fruits such as apples or berries may be substituted for the peaches.
Madeline’s Peach Cobbler
For the cobbler:
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 quart peaches: fresh, thawed or canned, undrained
1 cup sugar (less if canned or frozen with sugar
Apple pie spices to taste
For the hard sauce:
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar (scant)
1 tablespoon bourbon or rum
For the cobbler: In a greased 9x13-inch baking dish, combine first 7 ingredients. Separately, combine peaches, sugar and spices and pour over batter; do not mix. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve warm with hard sauce or ice cream, or cool with whipped cream.
For the hard sauce: In small bowl, add sugar gradually to butter; mashing with a fork until all sugar has been thoroughly combined. Add bourbon or rum and stir thoroughly. Will keep in refrigerator a long time.
Who’s got the recipe?
Still looking: A James Island caller requests recipes for seafood quiche.
Reach Features Editor Teresa Taylor at food@postand courier.com or 937-4886.