Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Blackberry Cobbler

Remember these guys?  A couple of weeks ago, I found them at the farmer’s market.   I went back again last week, hoping to find more, but no such luck.  I’ll go back again tomorrow with the same hope in my heart–along with the memory of an excellent blackberry cobbler I made with them.

Cobbler is one of my favorite summer desserts because it’s so easily adapted to whatever fruit is in season.  Blueberries, raspberries, cherries, peaches–you name it, you can’t go wrong.  There are, however, several groups of thought with regard to the way cobbler should look and taste.  They break down something like this:

Group 1:  Cobbler should have a cooked fruit filling topped with a broken (“cobbled”) biscuit-like topping.  Usually, the biscuitty stuff is sprinkled with sugar and/or cinnamon.

Group 2:  Cobbler should have a cooked fruit filling and a crisp, flaky, pie crust-like topping.  (I was once served a portion of cobbler in a small ramekin, with a little disc of pie crust perched atop the mound of cooked fruit.  It was quite delicious, but I wouldn’t have called it cobbler.)

Group 3:  Cobbler should have fresh fruit snuggled up in a cake-like batter.  As the batter bakes, the fruit releases some of its juices and flavors the surrounding cake.

Personally, I’m a Group 3 girl, followed closely by Group 1.  As far as I’m concerned, any dessert in Group 2 is a single-crust pie. And I love pie, so I will happily eat it whenever it’s offered–but I’m not going to call it cobbler.  Not unless you do so first.  And even then, I will do it only if you’re the chef, just to be polite.  I will not, in my heart of hearts, believe for one minute that I’m eating cobbler.

This is my favorite cobbler recipe because it’s so easy to remember.  But the best part about Group 3 cobblers is that they don’t require a separate step for cooking the fruit filling before you brown the topping.  Minimizing heat exposure:  yet another reason why cobbler is the perfect summer treat.

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Blackberry Cobbler

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups blackberries
1 T. sugar, for topping

Directions:

Get ready to make the cobbler. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the stick of butter in a 9 x 13 baking dish and allow it to melt in the oven while you're preparing the cobbler batter.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Add the milk and the vanilla all at once and whisk the batter until it's free of lumps. Set the batter aside.

Remove the pan with the melted butter from the oven. Tip the pan to make sure the melted butter is coating the bottom evenly. Pour in the cake batter over the butter, then arrange blackberries evenly over the top. (The cake batter will rise over the berries while baking.) You may notice butter floating on top of the cake batter, or berries sinking to the bottom. Worry not. All is well.

Place the assembled cobbler in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Then, sprinkle the top with 1 tablespoon of sugar and bake 10 to 15 minutes more, until the top is browned and just slightly crunchy.


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