Sunday, August 7, 2011

Blackberry Cobbler

Blackberry cobbler and I go way back. Growing up on the southern Oregon coast, blackberries were a way of late summer life. We spent hours picking bucket after bucket of berries that, if they actually made it home, were turned in to cobblers most days.

One summer, my Gran was visiting us. We picked a mess of berries, and brought them home to her. She turned out the best blackberry cobbler I've ever had. I should know. I ate it through my tears that time.

See, I was so excited to get it to the table, and she was letting me carry it there, that I was dancing around. The exuberance of a child and hot, syrupy berry juice do not mix well. I ended up dumping some of that cobbler onto my right arm and burning it something fierce. While everyone else enjoyed their cobbler, I was standing at the sink, crying as the cold water ran over my wrist. I don't remember if I was crying over the burn or because I had to wait to have my cobbler. Room temperature cobbler's got nothing on hot cobbler with vanilla ice cream melting into white pools around the berries.

In honor of that cobbler (and the little white scar on my arm where the burn blistered), and in honor of my Gran who passed away this spring, I made this cobbler today. And did not dump any of it on my arm.

Meme's Blackberry Cobbler (adapted from Bon Appetit, Y'All)

1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 cups fresh blackberries (which are scarce here in Northern Idaho, so I used frozen and didn't feel one bit ashamed - didn't thaw them or drain them)
1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling, if needed
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of kosher salt
1 cup whole milk (or 2%, which is what I had)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whipped cream (what we used today) or ice cream, for accompaniment

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Melt the butter on the stove in a large cast-iron skillet. If you brown the butter a smidge, all the better I say.

Place the blackberries in a large bowl. Using a potato masher, mash them to release some of their juices. If the berries are tart, sprinkle over some of the sugar. I skipped this step as my berries were frozen and I'm impatient.

To make the batter, in another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the 1 cup sugar, milk and vanilla, and stir until evenly blended. Remove the skillet from the stove and add the melted butter to the batter; stir to combine. Pour the batter all at once into the skillet, then add the blackberries and juices to the center of the batter.

Bake until the top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the batter comes out clean, about 1 hour. Serve hot (most definitely), warm (still okay) or at room temperature (not in my house you don't) with whipped cream or ice cream. Save some for breakfast too.


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