Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Blackberry cobbler

Though I love berries, I’ve only ever really been able to cook with them when I’ve been overseas as their cost here in the less-than-hospitable growing climes of mainland Australia discourages me from using them for anything much more than a garnish. That’s til I fortuitously found myself in Tasmania again last week at the height of blackberry season. Though this time I was down there for work, I was lucky enough to be able to squeeze in a weekend with my Hobart friends beforehand. So on Saturday afternoon, we piled in the car with gumboots and empty containers in search of free berries. We didn’t have to go far. 

When it came to deciding what to make with our huge haul, there were a number of important criteria: something quick (when you spend the afternoon painstakingly picking berries one at a time and braving thickets of thorns to do so you deserve some instant gratification), something delicious (naturally), and something whose preparation benefited from multiple pairs of hands (as I had two small, eager, purple-stained assistants). 

Cobbler is less fiddly than pie, needing only a top crust and no refrigeration period (or rolling!) before assembly. It requires nothing more than a few everyday ingredients and best of all, is assembled in a pleasingly slap-dash fashion by grabbing handfuls of dough, smooshing them into flat patties and placing them patchwork-style on top of the fruit. That there are gaps, all the better, as the berries bubble up through the cracks while cooking, oozing sweet, dark juices. In half an hour, we had dessert. And the satisfaction of having earned it.

Blackberry cobbler
Adapted from the Seattle-based - and thus berry-blessed - Orangette, who obtained the recipe originally from Chez Panisse Desserts

You could use any kind of berry here (except maybe cranberries as they'd be way too tart with this minimal amount of sugar), fresh or frozen, all of one kind or many different sorts jumbled up together.

For fruit:
4½ cups blackberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 to 1½ tablespoons flour

For cobbler dough:
1½ cups flour
3/8 teaspoon table salt
1½ tablespoons sugar
2¼ teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
¾ cup whipping (thin) cream

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Toss the berries with the sugar and flour. Use the larger amount of flour if the berries are very juicy. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the cobbler dough. Using your fingers, cut in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the cream and mix lightly, until the dry ingredients are just moistened.

Put the berry mixture into a shallow baking dish with a good size surface area. Scoop up lumps of dough, form into rough patties and arrange them on top of the berries. 

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the topping is set and lightly browned and the berry juices bubble thickly around the edges of the dish.

Serve warm, with cream or ice-cream.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't made black cobbler in some time but your recipe looks amazing.