Having a mother who was a wonderful cook and baker was special. She didn’t have many of the convenience products we have now, but she “made do” with what she had.
She made the best fried pies, and my favorite was her banana fried pies. This was about the only dessert she made with bananas other than a banana pudding from time to time.
She usually used biscuit dough to make the fried pies. As I remember, she would work in enough flour to make the dough a little firmer than that used for biscuits. Some bakers use canned refrigerated biscuits for making fried pies, and it works well.
While looking through some favorite cookbooks, I found an interesting banana dessert in “The Southern Living Community Cookbook,” compiled by Sherri Castle. This is a great cookbook dedicated to Southern specialties, and banana cobbler is one I am sure many bakers — not only in the South — will want to make.
Cobblers have had a special place on Southern tables for as long as I can remember. Mother made great strawberry cobblers, but she never made a banana cobbler. I feel sure she would have liked it.
The following Banana Cobbler with Streusel Topping is from the kitchen of Ann Wilson in Lexington, North Carolina. Just reading the note at the top of the recipe will make your mouth water: “This creative cobbler is reminiscent of a delicious combination of warm banana bread, banana pudding and great oatmeal cookies.”
If you don’t have self-rising flour, add 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt to 2 cups of all-purpose flour.

BANANA COBBLER WITH STREUSEL TOPPING
Streusel Topping:
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup uncooked regular oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Cobbler
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 medium size ripe bananas, sliced
To prepare streusel, stir together brown sugar, flour and butter in a large bowl until crumbly. Stir in oats and pecans. Chill until needed.
To prepare cobbler, preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease an 11x7 inch baking dish. Whisk together flour, sugar and milk; mix only until blended. Whisk in melted butter. Pour batter into prepared dish. Top with banana slices. Sprinkle with Streusel Topping. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving warm, topped with vanilla or caramel ice cream.

HOMEMADE CRUST FOR SMALL FRIED PIES
1/3 cup shortening
1 cups self-rising flour
2/3 cup milk
Cut the shortening into flour, using a food processor or pastry blender. Add the milk and process until mixture clings together in a ball. Divide the dough into about 10 to 12 small balls. Roll each portion to a circle about 5 inches in diameter.

QUICK BANANA FRIED PIES
1 can large refrigerated biscuits (Pillsbury Grands are good for these pies)
2 to 3 medium ripe bananas, sliced
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Oil for frying
Additional sugar for sprinkling on fried pies

This filling makes about 6 fried pies. Flatten biscuits to 5- or 6-inch circles. Put 5 or 6 slices of bananas on one side of the dough circle. Dot with butter. Sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon sugar over bananas on each pie. Pull dough over and form a half-moon shape. Seal well with a fork. Pierce top of each pie two or three times. Heat the oil (at least 1 inch deep) to 375 F. Fry the pies, turning as needed to brown on both sides. Drain on absorbent paper and sprinkle generously with sugar.

— Prudence Hilburn of Piedmont, Ala., has won more than 30 national cooking awards and written several cookbooks, including “Kitchen Keepers.” Write her at prudencehilburn@aol.com or visit prudencehilburn.com.