Jon’s been out of town all week, but later today he swoops back in! So I cobbled this cobbler together to welcome his return.
I’ve seen two types of bakers in the cobbler camps: drop biscuit-types and the magical rising crusters. I’ve had both. Rising crust are cinematic (you lump the dough onto the bottom of the pan and spoon the fruit filling over the top — somewhere in the oven, everything good rises), but I’m not a fan of the cakey texture. I like drop crusts, with their bumpy textures and shapes, and they look so pretty in the dish when you pull it bubbling out of the oven.
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
6 tbsp cold butter, chopped
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 cups (12 oz) frozen blackberries
2 tbsp corn starch
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
* Serves 9. You’ll need an 8 x 8 dish. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Combine flour, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Chop your butter. NOTE: It’s a common mistake to simplify handling by melting first and pouring it in. Resist the urge! Cold butter creates tiny pockets of air that make dough both flaky and crunchy.
Cut the butter into the dry dough mix. I left my pastry cutter in Minneapolis (sad!) so was left with a fork. You’re in for a job if this is what you have, too…
It should eventually look like this. Next, add the water and vanilla and mix until wet. Set aside.
In a saucepan, coat your berries with cornstarch. Later in the season, I’ll be using fresh berries, but it’s a little early for those. If you’re lucky enough to use fresh ones, make sure you add cold water to this step. The cornstarch is what makes the filling nice and thick — you don’t want it too runny!
Pour in the remaining 3/4 cup sugar.
I squeeze about half a lemon into my filling, but it’s really a matter of personal preference. I know bakers who leave it out entirely, and some who use a tablespoon or so. If you have a good grater, zest makes the filling sooo good — it really punches up the flavor of the berries.
Boil the mixture for a few minutes on medium high heat. It should start to thicken a bit.
Pour filling into the dish.
Drop dough unevenly over the filling. This isn’t an art. It looks pretty when it’s frayed and uneven. It’s cobbler — rustic and meant for imperfection.