The first cobbler I remember eating was a cherry one served by Mrs. Pandolfi at the Blessed Sacrament grade school cafeteria. It tasted so good.
My favorite chocolate desserts growing up included "Cookie Dessert," which my mom made with thin Famous chocolate wafers that came in a can and whipping cream (whipped by the Mixmaster). Another was My-T-Fine chocolate pudding, which we poured cream over while we watched Ed Sullivan on TV on Sunday nights.
"Chocolate Cobbler," which is sort of a combination of those two, is a hit at Clancy's Cafe in Red Banks, Miss. The restaurant is where the old Crossroads Fish Shack used to be. Tyler Clancy, chef/owner, serves a variety of food, including succulent, melt-in-your-mouth catfish. He also has his own take on the Crossroads onion salad: he uses red onions, which give his salad a fuchsia color after they steep in warm vinegar.
Clancy's grandmother, Norma Jackson from Holly Springs, makes the desserts, including the Chocolate Cobbler. "We never had that growing up," Clancy said. "I'd never even heard of it. It's not a brownie, it's not a cobbler, it's something on its own."
Jackson said the Chocolate Cobbler recipe came from a cookbook she got when she was living in Helena, Ark. "When they first put natural gas in West Helena, we bought an old Tappan range, and it came with a cookbook," she said. "It's 54 years old. Now, I've just got (pages) out of it."
When they were trying to come up with desserts for the restaurant, Diane Burk -- Jackson's daughter and Clancy's mother -- said, "Let's find us a chocolate cobbler."
"I think she'd eaten it in some of the restaurants she'd gone to and they quit serving it," Jackson said. "She loves chocolate. I don't particularly like chocolate."
The Chocolate Cobbler is made with sugar, butter, flour, cocoa, vanilla, milk and pecans. The pecans come from Jackson's tree.
They put Chocolate Cobbler on the menu a few months after the restaurant opened last January. "It was an instant success," Clancy said. "You hear about it, you gotta try it. If we don't have it, people get upset. When they call to make a reservation, they ask, 'Do you have the cobbler?' ... She knocked it out of the park on that one."
They serve it warm with Cool Whip or ice cream. I tried it with both of those and coffee cream and they were equally great.
A couple of my fellow diners, Aaron and Abby Benefiel, were leaving with a take-out box of Chocolate Cobbler. "My wife orders it every weekend," Aaron said.
"I wish I had the recipe," Abby said.
Clancy's Café is at 4078 Miss. 178 W. in Red Banks, Miss.; (662) 252-7502.
-- Michael Donahue: (901) 529-2797; email@example.com