Festive Fall Pumpkin Cobbler for St. Crispin

October 25: Feast of Saints Crispin and Crispinian

These brother saints from the 3rd century are the patrons of shoemakers and cobblers, which has lead to the lighthearted suggestion of a cobbler style dessert for the memorial feast day.  See Charlotte's wonderful St. Crispin's Apple Crisp from several years back.

I wanted to share this excerpt from the Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, which provides some additional background about the connection to shoemakers or cobblers. The authors also share a basic fruit cobbler recipe following their narrative.

This is the feast of two brothers, whose names are oddly alike. Both were bootmakers and cobblers. In France, their native land (though "The Golden Legend" tells us that they were Romans who had migrated to Soissons), many useful objects bear their name. A shoeshine kit is called a "Saint-Crispin"; an awl is "Saint Crispin's lance"; and if your shoes are too tight, you are "in Saint Crispin's prison."  

Because of their refusal to sacrifice to idols, Saint Crispin and Saint Crispinian were pierced with shoemaker's awls and suffered other tortures. They were in popular veneration throughout the Middle Ages, and we read in Shakespeare's "Henry the Fifth":  
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian:        
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,        
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,        
And rouse him at the name of Crispian. 

For many years there was a special Mass for the cobblers of France on this feast and it was followed by a huge banquet. Legend says the first celebration of this Mass so pleased the saints that they allowed cobblers to have as reward a little preview of heaven. 

In England, the same custom of a special feast on Saint Crispin's day was observed by the shoemakers. Afterwards they burned torches on the sand, probably as substitutes for the altar lights provided by the shoemakers' guild in pre-Reformation times for their chantry chapel. 

Just as, some months back, on Saint Anthony's Day we allowed a recipe having as its title a pun, so we give you another for the day of the shoemaking saints.

Fruit Cobbler
 3 cups fruit                                                      
1 tablespoon flour          
1/2 cup sugar                                                   
1 egg  
biscuit dough

A cobbler may be made with the fruit on top of a biscuit dough or with fruit under the dough. Prepare the fruit and add sugar (the amount will vary with the sweetness of the fruit) mixed with flour or with a well-beaten egg. Make a rich biscuit dough (or use prepared mix) and place in the bottom of a greased baking tin; cover with fruit dotted with bits of butter and bake at 425 degrees F. for about half an hour. Or, cover the fruit with the dough and brush the dough with a little milk or the beaten yolk of an egg diluted with a little water. Apples, peaches, plums, or other fruits may be used.
~ From Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton & Helmut Ripperger, 1951

Pumpkin Cobbler

Taking some elements of Burton and Ripperger's basic recipe and combining with internet recipes for a distinctly fall option of pumpkin cobblers, came up with a recipe to honor the cobbler saints of October. Topped with whipped cream, it makes a warm and hearty treat for a cool October evening. 

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter softened
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 2-3 quart baking dish with non-stick spray or grease with butter. 
Combine the pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, and eggs in a bowl. Add in both sugars, the flour, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

In another bowl combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in the butter. Cut with pastry fork until crumbly. Stir in the buttermilk, adding slowly until the mixture comes together. Don't over stir.

Drop the topping mixture by dollops onto the custard. Sprinkle with the brown sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 35-40 minutes.
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