Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Quick and Easy Blackberry Cobbler

Blackberries are out at a pretty decent price right now. I found out in the last couple of years that I love blackberries. As I mentioned in a recent post, I mainly grew up on a property that had such abundance of fruit; berries, cherries and other, as well as the vegetable garden my Dad planted each year. We did have a few blackberries way in the back of the yard, but with the huge and much sweeter red raspberry bushes, the blackberries sort of got left to their own fate. They always seemed sour. I never realized how sweet they can get.

I love to make apple crisp. Until recently I had not deviated to any other fruit in a "crisp." Not too long ago I had 2 cans of pie filling: one was blackberry and one was raspberry. I bought them with the intent of making pies for our friend Heidi, but she ended up not coming for that particular trip, so the cans were left in the pantry. I opened both cans and poured them into a pan and topped it with the same "crisp" topping I use for my Best Apple Crisp, Ever and baked it. It was really heavenly. Cobblers, on the other hand, with all that biscuit dough on top have never thrilled me. Just too much dough to fruit ratio. 

A serving of Blackberry Cobbler

Some long years ago I made a blackberry cobbler of a different sort. Rolling the biscuit dough out thinly and placing the fruit onto this large piece of dough, I rolled it like for a jelly roll or cinnamon rolls. It was sliced into spirals and laid into a baking pan with melted butter in the bottom and topped with a simple syrup. After baking, the biscuit dough completely absorbs all the syrup and the fruit is nicely spaced throughout. I liked this variation a lot and have made a few cobblers over the years, but always with berries. Blackberries alone or blackberries with raspberries; both excellent. My husband objects to the seeds in these kind of berries. It doesn't stop him from eating the cobbler though! I did a couple of things slightly differently this time, so I am re-posting the recipe here. I have to imagine this same technique would work with other fruits, particularly soft fruits like maybe blueberries, peaches, plums or apricots.

Blackberry Cobbler
Finished Blackberry Cobbler in pan

makes one 9 x 13-inch pan

10 tablespoons + 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1½ cups sugar
1½ cups water
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk, more if needed
3 cups fresh or frozen blackberries, cut in half if very large
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
2 tablespoons sugar for sprinkling, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, heat the 1½ cups sugar with 1½ cups water until sugar is melted; set aside. Melt the 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of the butter and pour it into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish; set aside. Place flour in a mixing bowl with the baking powder, soda and salt; cut in the 10 tablespoons of butter until fine crumbs form. Add milk, stirring with a fork until dough leaves the sides of the bowl. If more liquid is needed to bring together all the crumbs, add more one tablespoon at a time. Turn out onto a floured board; knead 3 - 4 times to just bring together. 

Berries rolled in the dough    |    roll sliced and set atop butter in baking dish    |    syrup poured into pan to bake
Roll dough to a large rectangle, about ¼-inch thick. Spread berries over the dough. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. Roll up, jelly-roll style, from the longer edge. Cut the long roll into 6 very thick slices. Carefully lay slices in baking dish over the butter. Pour the sugar syrup around slices (it will be absorbed when baking). If desired, sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

If you note how hugely tall the slices were before putting them in the pan, understand that again, guests were here in the kitchen with me and I was hurrying. I wasn't totally sure just how this would come out after baking. What happened was that the tall slices puddled down and filled out the space in the pan. It was perfect. In my older recipe it used smaller amounts for ingredients. I like this newer recipe much better. Also, the older recipe had the log of dough cut into 12 slices and set closely in the pan. Either way turns out great. I will say that this time the biscuit dough turned out gently crisp and flaky in the upper parts that were exposed, while being just moist and sweet underneath. This was an all around, really good recipe. A great revision of an old recipe.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.