Project Wonderful

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Blackberry Cobbler III

A couple years ago, I was gifted four blackberry saplings (primocanes) from a friend of mine. I figured they would be good as a natural home break-in deterrent, so I planted them in the front of the house, under a window to our laundry room.

This Spring, they really started to take off.

For me, the first thing I think of when I see blackberries is cobbler. I just love the combination of tart/ sweet and cakey dough.  The mind explodes with flavors and textures that instantly turn you into a kid. Served still warm from the oven with a little Vanilla ice cream and you'll quickly forget what you just had for dinner.

Blackberries are very good for you. 1 cup of blackberries has 7 grams of fiber and almost half the daily requirement of vitamin C. It ranks #1 in in-vitro anti-oxidants and its' compounds have been determined in scientific studies to help reduce certain types of cancer cells.

But let's be honest here:

We're making a cobbler. 
With a cup and a half of sugar and a stick and a half of butter. 
Don't eat this because you think it's healthy, 
eat this because it's AMAZINGLY delicious.

After the plant blossoms, the fruit starts growing.
Green at first, changing to a raspberry color, then shifting to dark purple.
The phytochemical Anthocyanin is what gives the fruit its dark purple color and also contributes a slightly tart taste.

Soon, little one.
Soon you will join your siblings in a glorious union of sugar and butter.  

The fruit is ready to pick when it's uniform in color and a little soft to the touch.
It should come off the plant with a gentle tug.

Little lumpy bombs of berry bodaciousness. 

There was more in this bowl before I thought to grab my camera. 
I combined the fresh picked berries with a couple of cups I had in the freezer, soaked them in cool water to defrost and started making the cobbler.

This is my third recipe for blackberry cobbler. The first recipe was a reverse-style, where the dough starts on the bottom, the second recipe was done in a cast iron pan and now this one: more of a traditional style, with a couple of twists thrown in.


For the filling:
3 cups of blackberries - rinsed and dried
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbs corn starch
1 cup cold water
4 Tbs butter

For the dough:
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup of butter - cold
1/2 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 350

To make the filling:
Place the blackberries, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice in a large saute pan.

Add the cold water to the 3 tablespoons of corn starch and stir until it's dissolved.

Add this cornstarch slurry to the pan and bring everything to a boil.
Stir the mixture until it starts to thicken, about two minutes.
Pour the berry mixture carefully into a greased (brushed with butter) 8" x 11" baking dish.

Add the 1/2 stick of butter in little dollops around the dish.

For the dough:
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together.

Using a pastry blender (or a couple of forks)
cut the cold butter into the flour sugar mixture until it looks like driveway gravel
(coarse sand would be too small. you want slightly larger chunks)
Add the cold water to the mixture and stir just until everything is combined. 

Spoon the dough onto the top of the filling in random clumps.

Then place the cobbler into the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the dough turns a nice golden brown color.

When ready, set aside to cool for AT LEAST 30 minutes.
Remember, this stuff is like lava, and when it touches your skin it will burn a long time, so be careful!

The dough comes out very light and cakey (it pays to use fresh baking powder)
The berries are perfectly balanced. Not too sweet, not too tart. 

Grab a spoon and dig in!