Once again, one of the stores nearby had a deal on blackberries that was too good to pass up, but, instead of making Blackberry Muffins, or Blackberry Bites, we decide to go with something easy and quick: blackberry cobbler. Basically a deep dish pie topped with a simple sweet biscuit, a cobbler is a great way to make up a fast and fruity dessert in a matter of minutes. Plus, cobblers have the advantage of being adaptable to pretty much any kind of juicy fruit. Think berries, peaches, etc.
For our foray into cobblerdom, we went right to the source — well, our favorite source, The Joy of Cooking, by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker — for our recipe. The cobbler recipe referred to halving a sweet biscuit recipe, which referred to another biscuit recipe, so we’ll fix all that up and eliminate the need to page back and forth.
Makes one 8×8 inch cobbler.
For a cobbler, you’ll want a juicy fruit so you get a lot of “gravy” that will get sopped up by the biscuits. Ideally, you want the biscuits to cook on the underside, so that they’re like a small dumpling cooked in fruit juices. You’ll note that we list an approximate amount of sugar for the filling. Go by taste and decide the right amount, even if you have to cook the fruit down a bit, taste, and then add sugar. Finally, don’t let some corporate dairy help you salt your cobbler; use unsalted butter.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly butter an 8×8 inch baking pan.
Make filling. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine fruit, sugar, and a tablespoon of flour. Stir as best you can while it heats to a low boil. As the fruit starts to release juice, you can increase the heat; otherwise, you’ll be there quite a while. Once it has began to bubble and has thickened a bit (from the flour), remove from heat and set aside while you prepare the biscuit.
Mix dry ingredients. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. We like to use a whisk because it’ll break up and clumps and makes short work of getting the ingredients distributed throughout.
Add butter. Add the butter; since it’s such a small piece, you can add it in one piece. Using your fingers, break apart and rub the flour into the butter until it looks like coarse crumbs. The secret is to do this quickly so that the butter doesn’t melt from the heat of your hands. If you want to use a pastry blender, feel free, but we just use our fingers.
Add milk. Pour the milk into the center of the flour mixture. If you want a richer biscuit, you can use cream, but it isn’t necessary.
Mix. Grab a spoon and start mixing. Mix just until all the flour is mixed with the milk and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. No longer, or you’ll start to develop the gluten in the biscuits. If the gluten develops, that means tough biscuits. Hmm. That might be a new phrase when someone starts complaining: “tough biscuits!”
Assemble. Pour the fruit mixture into the buttered pan, then, using about a tablespoon of dough at a time, drop the biscuit dough over the fruit. Finally, dot the fruit with bits of butter.
Bake. Slide into the middle of the oven and bake until the biscuits are golden brown and the fruit is bubbly, about 30 minutes. We set the pan on another baking sheet, just in case it bubbles over.
Serve. Let cool at least a bit before serving; you don’t want anyone to get fruit burns on the roof of his or her mouth.
This cobbler is so worth it. If you’re careful, you can let the fruit and sugar start cooking on the stove, spend the 5 minutes necessary to whip out the biscuit dough, and have this puppy in the oven within 15 minutes. Total. Thirty minutes later, you’ll be having a dessert that would taste oh, so good with a scoop of ice cream (we wished that we had some on hand). The biscuits are light, and just the slightest bit sweet, and the fruit thickens more while in the oven, but enough of the juices remain that you can scoop some over your biscuit pieces. While it might not look fancy and elegant, if you want a tasty dessert in a matter of minutes, go for it! Five stars.