“Psh! Cooking it for vusses!” I rolled my eyes and looked back to see Gilbert heading downstairs towards his room. “Come get me vhen zis blackberry cobbler is done.” He threw up the peace sign and was gone. I chuckled and looked back to Ludwig.
“You wanna help?” I asked, holding out the bucket of berries tauntingly. He laughed and shook his head at me.
“Vhy not?” he asked, following behind me into the kitchen. I giggled and set the bucket on the counter top. “So vhat first?” he asked as I walked over to a cupboard and pulled out a colander then headed to the sink.
“First, we have to wash the berries. I don’t really appreciate bugs in my cobblers,” I told him. He laughed and I giggled at the silly comment. “Could you get the dumpling pot out of the cabinet?” He nodded and pulled the medium sized pot from underneath the counter. He set it next to the sink as I dumped the berries into the colander and reached for his apron. “Na uh,” I said, “no aprons for your first cobbler. Not allowed.” He raised his eyebrows at me but grudgingly agreed. We stood together, talking and washing the berries off and putting them in the pot. I smiled as I watched the German’s deft fingers.
“Vhat are you smiling at?” I jumped slightly and looked up to see Ludwig looking at me with curious blue eyes. I shook my head and reached down below the sink to grab the sugar container.
“N-nothin’,” I mumbled. I opened the container and continued talking before he could start. “Now, two heaping cups of sugar and some.” He filled the measuring cup twice and poured it over the berries and added a little bit more with my discretion. I filled the pot up with water and stirred it to get the sugar dissolved while telling Ludwig what we’d do next as he washed his hands.
“So while this heats up, we’re gonna make the dumplings. Now, the thing about the dumplings is that the water has to being boiling so that the dough cooks and doesn’t stick to the bottom.” He nodded in understanding as I grabbed the bread bowl and the milk. He retrieved the flour and Crisco, already knowing how to make dumplings at least.
“How much flour?” he asked, opening the container of powder stuff as I set the bowl beside him.
“Two whole sifter fulls,” I told him. I giggled as I watched him try and pour the flour into the sifter without making a mess. He gave me a look and I bite my lip to keep from laughing. “There’s no way to play with flour and not get messy,” I informed him teasingly as I pulled a flour coated towel and a rolling pin out of a large drawer. I heard him grunt in disapproval as I walked back.
I pinched a pit of the flour between my fingers and blew it at him, coating his lips, throat and top part of his black tank top in white. He coughed slightly and I laughed, clutching at my sides. My eyes widened as he grabbed a bit for himself and sprinkled it over my hair, making me sneeze. I bumped hips with him and he chuckled.
“Alright you, time to learn.” He rolled his eyes and I smirked. “Take the back of your hand and very gently hollow out the middle of the flour.” I grabbed his wrist and showed him how to make a hollow spot in the stuff. “Okay good,” I complimented, opening the Crisco. “Now, get a handful of Crisco and dump it in the middle. “ He did so and I popped the top on the milk.
“And now I mix it togezer as you pour ze milk?” he asked. I nodded, smiling proudly at him.
“Mhm, you want to get flour from the sides though, so you don’t reach the bottom of the bowl.” He nodded and began rolling the Crisco in the flour as I poured the milk in. I grinned as he got goose bumps on his arms from the cold milk. When the dough was sufficiently mixed, I showed him how to knead it. “You’re going to reach under the dough, just the dough, you don’t want to get anymore flour, and flip it over and press it down. Just keep turning it in quarter circles and doing that until it’s firm.”
“Alvight,” he said. I checked on the blackberries and saw they were close to boiling. I laid out the towel on the dryer and set the rolling pin down. “How’s zis?” Ludwig asked, looking up from the dough. I walked over, flipping it a few times for myself and grinned at him.
“Perfect! Now, you have to pinch the dough off in about, tennis ball sized pieces,” I said, reaching down and showing him how to wrap his hand around it and pull it off. “Take some flour and sprinkle it on the little towel there so the dough won’t stick.” He did so and I set the small dough ball down. “Good. So before you roll it, you have to press it down.” I showed him how and he followed after.
“Now?” he asked. I handed him the rolling pin and told him to make sure to roll from the middle. I also covered it with a little bit of flour, just in case.
“You go forward, backward, side to side and then diagonally, got it?” I asked, reaching up to wipe flour from his forehead. He nodded and blushed slightly. I smiled and pulled the lid off the blackberries. “Good, we’re right on schedule.” I watched carefully as he finished flattening it and then handed him a butter knife. “Alright, now you have to do this part quickly so the dough doesn’t stick to the knife.”
I showed him how to cut the flat dough into strips and then that into smaller sections. I smiled as his brows creased slightly as it sometimes caught on the knife. I showed him where the juice and water was boiling really hard and that’s where he had to let the dough fall through so it would pull it under and cook it quickly. We dropped the rectangles of dough in and I stirred it until it was thick and full of berries and dumplings.
“Okay, do you want to pour it into the pan, or do you want me to?” I asked him, getting out the glass pan and setting it on the counter. His eyes widened and he pursed his lips.
“I zink you’d better do it ze first time,” he said nervously. I snorted lightly and grabbed the handles of the pot.
“That’s what she,” I muttered, carefully lifting the blackberries and pouring them into the pan. The German huffed and crossed his arms over his chest. “Sorry, couldn’t resist.” I poured the berries evenly and then set the small pot in the sink and walk back across to the left over dough sitting in the bowl of flour. “Okay, last thing and then we can put it in the oven. Get the rest of the dough and do the same thing as before, we just have to get it as close to the shape of the pan as we can for the crust.”
“Alvight zen. You… you sure I should do zis?” he asked, looking at the dough as he rolled it. I laughed softly and stood in front of him.
“Of course, here,” I rested my hands on top of his and pressed the dough flat, “you’re just making it a little bigger than before,” I told him. I felt him lean down so his breath was in my ear.
“Zat’s vhat he said,” he murmured. I blushed and looked back at him. I elbowed him lightly in his stomach and shook with suppressed laughter.
“Pervert,” I giggled teasingly. He chuckled and kissed the shell of my ear. Blood flooded my cheeks at the sweet gesture and I realized just how close we were. I relished it for a moment and then turned to look at him. “This is the fun part,” I told him. “You have to wrap the dough around the pin to get it over to the cobbler.” I carefully wrapped the dough around the pin and carried it over to the pan. “And you have to make sure you hold the pin ‘cause it will roll and it’ll fall off.” He nodded seriously and watched as I smoothed the dough over the berries. “There! Sometimes if the dough doesn’t fit right you have to cut the extra off, but you got it just right.” I leaned up and kissed his cheek before walking over to get the butter out of the fridge.
“Vhat… vhat vas zat for?” he asked. I looked at him as I walked back to the mostly finished cobbler and saw him holding his cheek. I shrugged and grabbed the butter knife we’d been using and began to stagger small dollops of butter along the crust.
“For being you,” I replied softly. I blushed as a pair of strong, warm arms wrapped around me. I grabbed the knife we’d used for cutting up the dough and cut slits into the dough between the butter and then turned to find Ludwig very close. “L-Lud?” He smiled and kissed me quickly.
“Danke, for everyzing,” he whispered and pulled away. “So vhat next?” he asked, looking at me seriously. I stumbled over my words, trying to get my brain working again.
“Um… w-we have to shake… erm… sugar, over to crust and then it can g-go in the oven,” I managed. He grinned, something that was extremely rare and I absolutely loved to see, and began spreading the crystals over it.
“How’s zat?” he asked, looking at me for approval. I nodded and smiled at him.
“Good,” I replied, picking it up and walking to the stove. “Now,” I opened the door with one hand, “we get to clean up and wait.” I pushed the pan into the oven and closed it. We put all the ingredients up, and I told that you didn’t wash the towel that we’d made the dumpling on; you simply put all the edges in the middle and left it till next time.
It was funny to see him struggle to put the flour back without too much of a mess. We washed all of the dirty dishes and put everything back up. I sat on the countertop, after Ludwig had scrubbed it thoroughly, and we talked and waited for the cobbler to finish cooking. Just as I pulling it out of the oven, Gilbert walked in, Gilbird cheeping excitedly on his head.
“Vhat is zat awesome smell?” he asked, walking over to us and looking at the cobbler in my hands.
“That, dear boys, is blackberry cobbler,” I said, walking over to one of the cabinets and pulling out four bowls. “Hey Gilbird,” I crooned. The little yellow puffball flew over and landed on my shoulder. “Could you go get Feli?” He cheeped and flew off towards the backyard. I grabbed a large spoon and dipped it into the cobbler. I poured it into the bowls and handed Gilbert and Ludwig theirs as Feliciano came running inside.
“Mmm!! Bella, this smells so-a good!” he cried, grabbing his bowl and spoon of his own.
“Careful Italia, it’s hot,” I warned. He nodded and began eating it like it was ice cream. I laughed and looked at the two brothers. I watched as they both looked at each other and then ate a spoonful. Both of their eyes lit up and they looked at me excited.
“How have I never had zis before?!” Gilbert cried, digging into his cobbler. I laughed and began eating my own, happy that they were both enjoying it. I looked at Ludwig and saw him smiling at me as he continued eating his own.
“Like it?” I asked, reaching up to wipe purple juice from the corner of his mouth.
“Ja,” he said, pulling me into a hug, “ist vunderbar.” He kissed the top of my head and I smiled.
“Glad ya’ll like it,” I said, sticking another spoonful into my mouth. I grinned as I leaned back into Ludwig’s broad, muscular chest. Looks like I got two sweet things today, I thought happily, leaning up to kiss the German’s cheek again.